North Pike seniors can likely look forward to a traditional graduation ceremony this year.

High school principal Cedric Collins proposed to hold graduation at 7 p.m. May 21 at Southwest Mississippi Community College’s John I. Hurst Stadium.

Under current occupancy guidelines due to COVID-19, he said each of the 171 graduating seniors could be issued 10 tickets for family members and friends to attend the ceremony at the football field.

In case of rain, the ceremony would be held at the same date and time in SMCC’s gymnasium. For that site, seniors would be issued four admission tickets for family and friends.

If virus transmission rates increase significantly between now and graduation and attendance for gatherings is severely limited again, Collins proposed a non-traditional graduation on the high school campus.

For that event, the senior class would be divided into small groups scheduled to show up in half-hour increments from 8:30 a.m. to noon and from 12:30 to 4 p.m. on May 21.

In other business, Superintendent Dennis Penton told the board that the district was down to 19 online students from 121 when the board ordered a return to 5-day school attendance and ended elective online studies last month.

“Those that have not returned, we are working on getting back in school,” Penton said.

Penton also told the board that the average ACT score for the high school had declined from 19.2 to 18.1 for the past year.

“Given everything that’s happened over this last year, we expected a downturn,” he said.

The board also:

• Noted policies for review on sexual harassment under new Title IX guidelines from the federal government.

• Accepted teacher and administrator salary scales.

• Accepted donations to the athletic department and the lower elementary school.

• Approved summer programs at the high school and personnel to staff the Camp Little Jag summer program.

• Approved teaching, administrative, classified and athletic staff for next school year.

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