It’s onto Plan B for a number of Okanagan-Shuswap secondary schools in regards to graduation ceremonies.
A handful of schools had planned to use Enderby’s Starlight Drive-In for a special ceremony but, in the wake of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s ruling Monday, May 25, that confirms only 50 cars are allowed at the drive-in, the facility cancelled plans Tuesday, May 26.
“We received notice this morning that Starlight Drive-In is cancelling all their grad events,” said Scott Anderson, principal at Enderby’s A.L. Fortune Secondary School. “They were looking for an exemption from the provincial health officer, but it didn’t happen.”
Anderson said the ruling affects his school, Pleasant Valley Secondary in Armstrong, Eagle River Secondary in Sicamous and “two-to-three Vernon schools.” Each had planned to use the venue for grad.
“Our plan was to have a timed/scheduled rotation of grads and parents for a physically distanced grad “ceremony” at the school on June 1,” Anderson said. “We hired a video company to film it, put together a show, then play the recorded show at the drive-in on June 9 for grads and their families.”
At the time of planning, Anderson said, the drive-in was allowed 100 cars, four people per car.
“We have 36 grads, so it would have been perfect,” said Anderson, who added his school is continuing with the ceremony and video at the school on June 1. Each grad will get a link to the video and a thumb drive with a file of the show.
Anderson and his staff are back to the drawing board, trying to plan some other kind of event that can have everyone together.
Henry’s ruling also affects the Salmon Arm-based Shuswap Dance Center, which planned to show dance performances of its students on the drive-in’s big screen Wednesday, May 27. The event has been cancelled.
Henry said the 50-vehicle limit is not a forever thing, but it is necessary for this phase. She suggested this restriction could be eased later this summer.
“But I can’t predict that,” she said.
On its Facebook page, the drive-in wrote: “In order to fully comply with all government regulations, we are now limiting ticket sales to 50 cars per show. With no concession you will need to bring your own snacks and refreshments. You will be required to spend the evening in your vehicle except to use the restrooms.
“As always, we remain committed to the health and safety of our community. In the coming week, our team will be reviewing our operations, and how these changes impact the feasibility of our summer drive-in season.”