Valley students push through heat to finish school year

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Scorching hot weather has settled in for the last week of school in the Valley.

Thankfully, students at Highland Elementary in Visalia have a shorter week.

During the couple of days they are on campus, they'll drink plenty of water and have recess inside.

"The little ones are often on GoNoodle, get them moving around indoors, but they love it," Highland Principal Jessica Peredo said. "And the older ones, the teachers are very creative, creating free games but also keeping that six feet apart."

Peredo will head over to the Mineral King Bowl on Tuesday evening to watch former students graduate from Mt. Whitney High School.

Temperatures will be in the triple digits, but no one will be baking in the stands this year, because Visalia Unified seniors voted for a walk-through format for graduation ceremonies.

Each graduate will walk with their guests (up to 10) as they receive their diploma.

The process is expected to take about 15 minutes per student.

But district officials are still taking precautions to keep everyone cool.

"We have two cooling stations, so the huge cooling fans that are blowing out mist as well will be there, plenty of water on hand, and we'll have a nurse as well here on hand just in case anyone gets sick," VUSD's Dedi Somovia said.

Traditional graduation ceremonies have resumed for high schools in Porterville.

Seniors will receive a limited number of tickets for guests due to COVID restrictions, but like Visalia, Porterville will stream the ceremonies on YouTube--not a bad option for anyone who'd rather watch from the comfort of their air-conditioned home.

"We are going to be selling water for the public in the stands, we are going to provide water for the students as they come in," PUSD's Jason Pommier said. "Please everyone, hydrate as best as you can over the next couple of days. Again, it's going to be warm weather, just anticipate that."

In Porterville and in Visalia, masks are required for anyone attending graduation ceremonies.
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