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Coronavirus has been changing the landscape across the country here in 2020, and one major area affected has been the education system.

Graduation dates for schools across the country have been pushed back, but graduating seniors at Athens High School will get to don cap and gown on Thursday, May 21.

However, this year's graduation ceremony will have its differences.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this will not be a typical graduation ceremony,” Athens High principal Rick Carter said in a press release posted to the school's social media. “While AHS wants graduates and their families and friends to celebrate, no person shall be allowed to attend the graduation ceremony unless they can maintain a 6-foot distance between persons of different households. Anyone who violates this rule will be required to leave the AHS graduation ceremony immediately and will not be allowed to return.”

According to Carter, the following individuals will not be allowed to attend:

Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19;

Those who have been in close proximity to someone who has tested positive;

Individuals with cough, shortness of breath or a sore throat;

Those who have had a fever within the past 48 hours prior to the event; or

Anyone who has experienced a new loss of taste and/or smell or has experienced vomiting or diarrhea within 24 hours of the event.

All persons attending should take their own temperature before arriving at the ceremony,” Carter said. “Normal temperatures should not exceed 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.”

According to the release, anyone who attends the graduation ceremony does so at their own risk. Participation in the graduation ceremony is optional for all students and their family members.

The AHS graduation ceremony will be livestreamed online at for anyone who would like to view it remotely.

Graduates will be limited to five tickets for family members to access the stadium.

Because of limited seating due to social distancing guidelines for families, we ask all graduate family members (with tickets) arrive together in one vehicle,” said Carter in the release. “Specific entry and exit procedures are in place for social distancing. Please maintain social distancing guidelines in separation from other families while you are being seated or in line to be seated.”

No photographs may be taken from the fence, field or track at the stadium. A photographer hired by the school will be at the ceremony taking complimentary photos for graduates

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