The Sooke School District has announced they will be hosting in-person graduation ceremonies to give students the chance to walk across the stage amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the District, they will be hosting multiple ceremonies of small student gatherings in adherence to the guidelines of BC health officials. This will allow the ceremonies to maintain adequate physical distancing and remain under 50 people.
The in-person ceremonies will have traditional elements of a graduation including caps and gowns, walking across the stage, and picking up a diploma. The District said that a professional photographer will be on-hand as well to capture the moment.
Due to the provincial limits on large gatherings, however, families will not be able to attend.
“We look forward to being able to celebrate with you,” said Superintendent Scott Stinson. “We’re glad that we are able to add to what was already going to be a just and fitting tribute to our graduates this year by allowing you that ceremonial crossing of the stage and to recognize the many years of hard work to get yourself to this point.”
The school district had initially decided to create a virtual graduation video for grads that would include speeches from faculty and valedictorians, however, they chose to add the ceremonies as an option following an outcry from the community.
— School District #62 (@SD62_Sooke) May 20, 2020
“We’ve been listening. We hear you and we hear the comments and worry that you’ve been expressing about your grad this year,” said Stinson.
One online student petition generated more than 4,500 signatures opposing the idea of a virtual graduation.
Stinson said the graduation video will still be created in addition to the in-person ceremonies, which are set to be held between June 22 to June 25.
SD62 said that more information on ceremony details will be sent to families by their respective schools in the coming weeks.