Graduating with a mask, gloves and (we think) a smile


Proudly clutching some of the traditional trappings of a successful commencement ceremony — the requisite diploma and congratulatory roses and balloon — Charleston High School Class of 2020 graduate Alyssa Bland of Enid (right) also sports a couple of this year's must-have senior accessories. 

Bland, pictured here with her brother B.J. shortly after her Friday morning graduation, dons a face mask and gloves as required for everyone participating in Friday's private event at the school's Morgan Freeman Auditorium.

The East Tallahatchie School District mandated the protective gear to comply with best practice recommendations issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for social activities held in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Graduates and up to four guests were assigned a specific time slot to appear Friday and were carefully spaced apart as they walked into the auditorium to meet the CDC social distancing recommendation of 6 feet of separation between persons.  To read more about other COVID-19 graduation precautions incorporated at CHS, read this earlier story.

In addition to her brother, Bland was accompanied at the ceremony by her parents, Billy Ray Bland Sr. and Dee Shaw Bland, and her sister-in-law, Mary Bland.

Graduation activities at the school continue into the early afternoon and are scheduled to be followed at 3 p.m. by a privately-sponsored parade organized by parents and students.

(Photo by Dee Shaw Bland)