High school graduations scheduled

By Al Dozier

In-person graduation ceremonies will be held in a somewhat normal setting June 18 and June 19 at the four high schools in Lexington-Richland District 5.

The district is asking graduates to limit the number of guests to no more than six, an increase from an earlier announcement that limited the number to four.

Board Chairwoman Jan Hammond said special circumstances could allow for more guests. Such requests should be made to the school principal.

Hammond said the ceremonies should be somewhat normal.

These are the times and dates released by the district: Irmo High, June 18, 8 am at the Irmo High School Stadium; Spring Hill High, June 18, 7 pm, Irmo High School Stadium; Chapin High, June 19, 8 am, Chapin High School Stadium; Dutch Fork High, June 19, 7 pm, Dutch Fork High School Stadium.

Security precautions will be taken during the ceremonies. Metal detectors will be used by safety officials. Graduates and their families are encouraged to follow CDC and DHEC guidelines regarding face masks.

At the May 24 meeting, the District 5 School Board gave first –reading approval to a budget totaling $201,694,166. The budget includes step increases for all eligible staff. The budget does not include any millage increase.

The district will have a lot of new money to spend this year thanks to federal rescue funds going to school districts throughout the nation as part of a relief package from the impact of the COVID-10 Pandemic. District 5 is expected to get a total of approximately $23 million.

The funds are designated as ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) grants.

Hammond said there are guidelines to how the money can be used, but the district will have some flexibility on how they spend the money. She said funds are likely to be directed toward “learning loss” suffered by students who were unable to attend classes because of the pandemic. Programs will be administered to bring students up to date on their academic skills.

She said funds could also be directed toward making schools safer, such as improving air quality in the classrooms.

The district will be considering the allocations during the next few months.