AUBURN — Talk about soaring to new heights. The Edward Little High School Class of 2020 will graduate next month and the location was announced Friday afternoon: The Auburn-Lewiston Municipal Airport in Auburn.

The ceremony will be conducted with the use of a large screen, an audio system and a livestreaming service.

“We are continuing to refine the details and develop the program for this graduation ceremony,” Principal Scott Annear wrote in a news release issued on Twitter at about 5 p.m. Friday. “We are working hard to maintain the critical components that are important to the graduates and families.”

According to the release:

• Graduates will be able to wear their caps and gowns;

• Graduates and families will remain in cars until they are announced, at which point they will cross the stage, collect their diplomas and have their pictures taken;

• Masks will be worn by everybody outside of cars and social distancing of 6 feet will be maintained at all times;

• All vehicles must be parked at least 6 feet apart with windows up;

• Only two vehicles will be permitted per graduate. No limos or recreational vehicles;

• Graduates will be able to go to the stage with two guests only;

• The graduation will take place rain or shine.

School officials had looked into a variety of ideas for holding the graduation ceremony before settling on the airport.

The Maine Department of Education has issued guidance to Maine’s education leaders regarding high school graduation ceremonies amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidance was issued at the request of superintendents and other school leaders who are making decisions about graduation ceremonies, as the school year comes to a close.

Maine Department of Education assembled a group to explore and make recommendations on ways that schools can celebrate the Class of 2020, according to a news release, while taking into consideration public health concerns, social distancing recommendations, and government-issued restrictions on social gatherings. The group complied the best available advice and information, which was then reviewed by health and education experts.

“School and district leaders have requested guidance, and unfortunately there is no one right way to approach this,” Commissioner Pender Makin said.  “Local school communities must assess their unique needs and capacities, and many variables will impact decisions around graduation celebrations. Many schools are hosting virtual events or postponing the ceremonies, but for those who are planning an in-person event, this guidance addresses important safeguards and considerations.“

Decisions around whether to host graduation ceremonies remain at the discretion of local school boards and superintendents, although they must be conducted in accordance with Gov. Janet Mills’ Stay Safer at Home Orders.

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