LINCOLN (CBS13) — Graduating during a pandemic is not how Dylan Weaver thought he would be celebrating his capstone year of high school.
“I missed out on a lot of things,” said the graduating senior.
In an effort to not miss out on tradition, nearly 100 students crowded together Sunday to take group pictures. Dozens of students stood side by side, sporting their caps and gowns with their classmates, without wearing masks or leaving any room to stand six feet apart.
“I thought it was great that the community is coming together to see how they can celebrate us,” Weaver said.
Weaver missed the group photo Sunday.
“If they think they are safe enough to be out there, then that is fine by me,” he said.
The photos highlighted in Gold Country Media are circulating the web and drawing reactions from residents in the community.
Lead Placer County health officer, Dr. Aimee Sisson, said while she sympathizes with the students, now is not the time for large gatherings.
“The Class of 2020 has made huge sacrifices. But getting together to take a class photo has the potential to undo all of those sacrifices. Getting together in a large group, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, without face coverings, is a recipe for virus transmission and a violation of the Governor’s statewide stay-at-home order,” she explained. “I want our residents to understand that the virus is still present in our community, and now is still not the time to gather in person.”
The school district said they were not involved in the event, but have hosted other social-distant celebrations for seniors.
“The Western Placer Unified School district and Lincoln High School has organized a variety of celebrations for our seniors including a virtual graduation ceremony, personalized signs for each student, photographs of each graduate, and much more,” explained Western Placer Unified Superintendent, Scott Leaman. “The pictures recently posted on Facebook of a mass gathering of students in their caps and gowns was not a district-sponsored event, and neither the school district nor Lincoln High School had any influence on the activity.”
Parents are planning to organize another photoshoot for students who could not make the first one. Despite the warnings, seniors like Weaver who plan to be at the next event said they just want to cherish their last moments as a class together.
“We are just trying to celebrate what we had, you know,” Weaver said.