BALTIMORE — COVID-19 has prompted several school systems to move high school graduation to some form of online format.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools are the latest system to announce virtual senior class graduations.
“As the father of a high school senior myself, I am fully aware of – and have greatly struggled with – the impact that decisions regarding events such as prom and graduation have on students and their families,” County Superintendent George Arlotto wrote in a letter to seniors and their families. “That is why I waited as long as possible before canceling proms late last month. That is also why we have delayed a decision on our graduation ceremonies, hoping against hope that we could hold them as planned at our schools or at the Live! Event Center at Arundel Mills. Our primary focus has been – and will continue to be – on health and safety.”
From May 26-28, audio tributes to graduating seniors will air on 104.7 FM and posted on each school's website. The tributes will be recorded by school teachers and counselors.
Each school will also create an online senior awards event to honor members of the Class of 2020.
This year's Commencement Celebration will be held digitally. The recorded event will follow the format of traditional graduations, and be broadcast on AACPS-TV and on the school sytem's YouTube and Livestream channels. Each graduate's name will be announced with a photo shown. There will be typical speeches by graduates, a Board of Education member, and the school principal, as well as the turning of the tassel.
According to Arlotto, the Cap and Gown Gala could still happen late July. Class of 2020 members would then have a chance to gather, put on their caps and gowns, walk across the stage, and have their photo taken like at a normal graduation ceremony. Only seniors, not families would be allowed to attend. Whether or not the gala goes on however, depends on what phase of re-opening Maryland is in at the time.
On Wednesday, Harford County Public Schools announced the graduating class of 2020 will be able to walk the stage in person at their particular school.
All seniors will have their special day during an allotted time to be determined sometime between June 8-12, with a digital commencement ceremony kicking things off on June 8.
All graduation events will also be streamed live so friends and family can tune in. It's unclear who can and can't accompany each graduate to the school on the day of graduation.
Students and parents will be receiving information from the school system in the coming days.
Cecil County Schools are also planning to hold their graduation at each high school over a number of days. Students and parents will soon be receiving information on when graduation will be.
Last week Baltimore County Public Schools announced all senior graduations would be conducted online from June 10-18.
We will continue to update the latest graduation announcements as school systems make them available.