Public schools will no longer have to limit the number of attendees at outdoor graduation ceremonies, the city's Department of Education told principals Wednesday afternoon, though attendees will still have to keep six feet apart, wear masks and fill out health screening forms.
Capacity limits for indoor graduations will remain in place. They are capped at 250 people.
The news comes a day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the lifting of most coronavirus-related restrictions in the state, including state health department rules that limited outdoor graduation ceremonies held on football fields to just 500 people, including students, staff and spectators.
It’s unclear whether schools will now have enough time to change their plans for graduation ceremonies, many of which are slated to be held next week.
Previously, the guidance the DOE gave to principals followed the state’s parameters and restricted schools to 500 or fewer people at commencement ceremonies. That meant large schools like Tottenville High School had to split its graduation into six different ceremonies over two days, an issue highlighted by NY1 earlier this month.
At the same time, the state had loosened rules for indoor gatherings at sporting events, meaning upwards of 17,000 people were attending indoor playoff basketball games.