Cypress Creek seniors practice graduation on May 25. (Photo: @CCHSHowler)

Pasco County is opening the doors wide open to graduation.

Pasco County Schools announced on Wednesday that high school graduates will be allowed to invite additional guests and family members to outdoor graduations, and social distancing at the events will no longer be required. The decision was made after reviewing COVID-19 data in schools and in the community.

Masks are still required for indoor graduations, however.

Cypress Creek (June 2, 7 p.m.), Wesley Chapel (June 4, 7 p.m.) and Wiregrass Ranch (June 3, 7 p.m.) are all holding graduation ceremonies in their football stadiums.

Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, high school graduates in Pasco County had been limited to four guests each. Now, graduates can have two guests join them seated on the field, with additional guests seated in the bleachers. Availability of seating will vary due to the size of the venue.

After reviewing data from the Pasco Department of Health and in light of the CDC’s recent relaxing of mask guidance, Superintendent Kurt Browning determined that the potential for harm has been greatly reduced in recent weeks as the county’s seven-day positivity rate recently declined to 4.6 percent, the lowest rate in nearly six months.

“It was our goal all along to make the graduation ceremonies as normal as possible, while recognizing our responsibility to protect the health and safety of all the graduates and guests,” said Superintendent Browning. “A lot has changed in recent weeks, and at this time we are confident that it is safe to remove those restrictions for our outdoor graduations.”

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