LINCOLN, Calif. (WJW) — A large group of California high school seniors and their parents are facing criticism after organizing a class photoshoot during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to KOVR, social distancing orders are still in effect in California, which was hard hit by the outbreak.
Lincoln High School parents and graduates allegedly defied state orders to organize a class graduation photo, which is reportedly a tradition at the school.
The photo shows nearly 100 students standing next to each other. They aren’t maintaining a distance of six feet or wearing masks.
“I missed out on a lot of things,” graduating senior Dylan Weaver told the news outlet. “I thought it was great that the community is coming together to see how they can celebrate us.”
While Weaver did not participate in the photo op, he says that if “they think they are safe enough to be out there, then that is fine by me.”
However, Dr. Aimee Sisson, the county’s lead health officer, expressed that this practice was not acceptable. She released the following statement to KOVR condoning the group’s actions:
“The Class of 2020 has made huge sacrifices. But getting together to take a class photo has the potential to undo all of those sacrifices. Getting together in a large group, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, without face coverings, is a recipe for virus transmission and a violation of the Governor’s statewide stay-at-home order,” she explained. “I want our residents to understand that the virus is still present in our community, and now is still not the time to gather in person.”
The school district was reportedly not involved in the event put has, however, hosted other activities to celebrate seniors while maintaining social distancing.
“The Western Placer Unified School district and Lincoln High School has organized a variety of celebrations for our seniors including a virtual graduation ceremony, personalized signs for each student, photographs of each graduate, and much more,” Western Placer Unified Superintendent, Scott Leaman told the news outlet. “The pictures recently posted on Facebook of a mass gathering of students in their caps and gowns was not a district-sponsored event, and neither the school district nor Lincoln High School had any influence on the activity.”
Despite the criticism from school and health leaders, parents are organizing another photoshoot for seniors who were unable to attend the first one.
Weaver says he plans to be in the next photo.
“We are just trying to celebrate what we had, you know,” Weaver reportedly said.