Both the Mehlville and Lindbergh graduation ceremonies had to be rethought this month when Chaifetz Arena canceled all scheduled school graduations through the end of July.
Lindbergh High School is holding an innovative drive-in ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday, June 26, at the PowerPlex site, 5555 St. Louis Mills Blvd., Hazelwood. In case it rains, the backup date is Sunday, June 28.
The Mehlville School District opted to return to its former home for graduations, the Family Arena in St. Charles, still on its scheduled date of July 19.
The arena, 2002 Arena Parkway, St. Charles, 63303, will keep the same schedule of 1:30 p.m. for Oakville High School’s graduation and 6 p.m. for Mehlville High School.
The Family Arena is setting new ground rules for the ceremonies, however: Everyone’s temperature will be checked upon entry. There will be no processional to maximize distance between graduates.
Graduates will be required to bring and wear their own mask to the ceremony, and attendees over the age of 9 will also have to wear a face covering.
The Family Arena will be enforcing 50-percent capacity rules for attendance, but based on historic numbers Mehlville does not believe it will fill the arena to that level so will not be limiting attendance.
Groups of six seats will be blocked off to promote social distancing, and moving or removing any blocked seats will result in being escorted out of the arena.
Lindbergh High will have an outdoor drive-in graduation ceremony, socially distanced because of COVID-19.
“While our commencement ceremony is always cause for excitement, this year might be the most memorable we have ever had before,” Principal Eric Cochran said. “The venue will have many flourishes that will give our 2020 graduating class the celebration they deserve!”
Since the site is a closed former mall, it has room to space students and spectators safely. Students will be staged before the ceremony in the 27 individual stores of the old mall, which limits them to being around 20 students per “pod.”
The former mall parking lot can fit thousands of people to witness graduation from the safety and comfort of their cars.
Two giant Jumbotron video screens will be flanking the stage so that parents can see the graduates walk across the stage, and the audio feed can be heard on car radios. Two full cars are allowed per graduate.
Watch the Lindbergh graduation live stream here (link).