Here's what graduation ceremonies at Mosaic Stadium could look like
REGINA -- Grade 12 students in Regina could make history next month if the provincial government approves a graduation ceremony plan that would take place at Mosaic Stadium.
Regina Public Schools and the Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL) have been working together to create a plan that would allow students and a limited number of guests to celebrate the graduation in a COVID-safe way. REAL said two additional school divisions have been inquiring about hosting their own graduations at the stadium, but could not confirm which ones at this time.
The plan is fully dependent on approval from the provincial government. Tim Reid, the president and CEO of REAL, said he is optimistic it will come together in some capacity.
“The nice thing with a stadium is that we know how many seats there are, we know how to scale it based on the needs of Ticketmaster,” he said. “If the regulations were 50 people or the regulations were 500 people, we would be able to accommodate and we could do so very quickly.”
As for what it would look like, Reid said the stadium’s digital capabilities would play a major role.
“In many ways, you don’t need the same pageantry that you would at a high school graduation in a gymnasium or a conference hall because we can change the look and feel of the venue digitally,” he said.
Reid said their current plan has the stage set up under the Max-Tron for graduates to walk across. Live video streaming would be available and the LED boards would be activated with the proper colours and names. The graduates’ families and guests would be able to watch from across the stadium in a physically distanced set up.
He said hosting Iceville at the stadium was good practice for getting groups of people in and out of the facility in a safe and efficient way.
Over the weekend, the province announced it would move to Step One of its reopening plan on May 30. That would make the outdoor gathering limit at a public place, such as Mosaic Stadium, 150 people.
Terry Lazarou, the supervisor of communications with Regina Public Schools, said they would likely need to allow more than for the ceremonies to come together.
“Some of our schools have more than 100 graduates, so right now as the regulations are written, we can’t do that,” Lazarou said. “I can’t assume how the decisions were made, but I’m pretty confident to say that using a facility such as Mosaic Stadium wasn’t really contemplated when these rules were put together.”
Lazarou said the tentative plan has been announced already so students and guests could save the dates of their potential ceremonies. He said their goal is to give this year’s graduates a special way to remember this milestone in their lives.
“If we can pursue it, it would add some significant splash to the graduation ceremonies for our grads and it would make use of a facility in Regina that hasn’t been used as much as it could have this year,” Lazarou said. “We wanted to create an event and set of events that students would be able to remember for the rest of their lives.”
REAL said the cost will be dependent on how many graduations take place in the stadium.
“We didn’t want to lose money on this, but we also felt we didn’t need to make money on it, so we’re offering it as a break even,” Reid said. “With every new graduation ceremony that comes, obviously we’ll just divide the overall cost of setting up the building evenly.”
REAL was first approached with the idea of hosting graduation ceremonies inside Mosaic Stadium last year for the class of 2020, but it was too short notice to make it happen.
“The reality of it is that we were so focused on really the challenges of COVID-19 and just trying to shut buildings down and keep people safe,” he said. “We just didn’t understand it to the same degree as we do now. We’ve had a year to learn. We’re much better at keeping people safe, and I think we also get great level of clarity from government on their expectations.”
The Regina Catholic School Division said it does not have graduation plans in place yet, but it is working on ensuring they will comply with all restrictions so graduates can be celebrated appropriately and safely.
Regina Public Schools said if the government does not approve the plan at Mosaic Stadium, alternative graduation plans will be made.
In a statement to CTV Regina, the provincial government said it recognizes the importance and positive impact that high school graduations have on the community.
It said under current guidelines, all public ceremonies must be outside and physical distancing of a minimum of two metres between household groups must be in place. No food is permitted at these types of ceremonies.
“In mid-May, the restrictions on June graduation ceremonies will be made available. This revaluation of the May guidelines will be contingent on the COVID-19 situation in the province and especially regarding the vaccination rates,” the statement read.