Re-2 prepares for in-person graduations at Coal Ridge High School next weekend |

Re-2 prepares for in-person graduations at Coal Ridge High School next weekend

Coal Ridge High School is moving forward with in-person graduation with a two-day event next weekend

rifle citizen telegram graphic

Coal Ridge High announced Tuesday it will go ahead with two graduation ceremonies at 8:30 a.m. July 18 and 19 in the back parking lot at the school between Silt and New Castle.

“In order to maintain the maximum number of 175 people in Garfield County, we will be having two graduation ceremonies,” Principal Jackie Davis said according to the post. “Each student will be allowed one car with two guests.” 

Graduates will sit in chairs in front of the vehicle while their guests remain inside. 

Staff at Coal Ridge will be reaching out to each graduate in the next few days to confirm the details.

“We had submitted plans to Garfield County Public Health at the end of June for larger graduation ceremonies, in anticipation that Garfield County would get an approval for their variance request,” Director of Communications Theresa Hamilton said. “Garfield County COVID-19 cases have not remained flat, they’ve escalated fairly rapidly recently. That precluded us from going forward. That meant the plans for both schools to hold larger in-person ceremonies have been revised because the circumstances today were not the circumstances we were anticipating.”

Garfield County Public Health is reviewing events like Coal Ridge’s graduation and is in support of the events going forward.

“As these events are re-established and they may be allowed … just because it’s approved doesn’t mean the risk isn’t there. Everybody needs to evaluate their own risk factors and what they are willing to expose themselves to,” Garfield County Public Health Environmental Health Director Josh Williams said. 

Garfield County Public Health is asking people to still do their individual parts to make sure they’re wearing face coverings and staying apart, and not forgetting that social distancing is still important even outside.

“Even though you may go to an event that’s allowed, you still want to take on that personal responsibility of making sure you stay socially distant,” Garfield County Public Health Specialist Carrie Godes said. “There is inherent risks involved. We just want to remind people there are active cases spreading in our community, and this is not the time to let your guard down.”

Davis and Rifle High School Principal John Arledge met with facility staff and Superintendent Heather Grumley this week to flesh out modified plans moving forward. 

Rifle is moving forward with its plans for an in-person ceremony 8:30 a.m. July 25. More details will be announced next week, as Principal Arledge makes contact with graduates.

Hamilton said there is a plan to stream Coal Ridge’s ceremonies online for grandparents and everyone else that normally would have come but will not be able to due to physical distancing restrictions. More details will be released closer to the event.

Even though Garfield County Public health is supportive of these types of events, they are still discouraging parties and large gatherings after these events, which is where they are seeing a lot of the transmissions in the younger population.


Approximately 90 instructional and classified staff from Garfield School District Re-2 are working on options to present school board members at the July 27 regular meeting.

According to a news release, they have met to share research, review feedback from parents, staff and a districtwide survey. The group is narrowing the focus of options as it moves forward with education in the 2020-21 school year. The task forces include instruction, health and safety, and parent engagement. 

“Our greatest hope is to return to in-person instruction with modifications in August; however, we continue to develop a variety of models so that we are able to move fluidly between them should conditions change,” a district statement said. “We know that the rules today are different from yesterday’s rules, and will be different from tomorrow’s rules. We will continue this work in July to work on the specifics.” 

Principals and directors will meet next week to work on the details to the models the task forces have begun. 

The School Board will meet on July 27 to formalize the models that will be used to start the 2020-21 school year. This decision will be made based upon the state and public health guidelines, as well as the recommendations from the Colorado Department of Education and the governor.

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