Brevard Public Schools today announced back-up dates for its high school graduation ceremonies should state officials extend the rules on social distancing and large gatherings beyond the current April 30 deadline. The plan was developed in consultation with the district’s high school principals and student government leaders and reflects the collective wishes of the Class of 2020.
In the event COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, BPS will proceed with on-time graduation ceremonies in late May. While district officials are not optimistic about this scenario, they are still prepared to hold graduations on their original dates, while adapting ceremonies to conform to social distancing and other CDC guidelines, including limiting ticket availability.
Should restrictions continue through May, BPS will hold graduation ceremonies during the week of June 22, 2020. High schools will work with their school communities to identify a date and time of day (morning or evening) during that week. Graduations will still likely adhere to social distancing and a limited number of guests.
If restrictions continue through June, BPS will hold graduation ceremonies during the week of July 20, 2020. High schools will work with their school communities to identify a date and time of day (morning or evening) during that week. Graduations will still likely adhere to social distancing and a limited number of guests.
"It is our greatest hope that we get to see our seniors cross the stage and receive their diplomas with their families looking on with pride," said Superintendent Mullins. "Nothing should steal that well-earned moment from them, and it would be heartbreaking to deny them this rite of passage, but our students’ health and safety, and that of their families and our staff, must remain our top priority."
Dr. Mullins added that the district will await word from state leaders and remains committed to a proper celebration of the Class of 2020.
During a video conference with the Superintendent, student government leaders discussed the pros and cons of delaying graduations until later in the summer, recognizing that some students would not be able to attend due to military deployments, freshman events and other commitments. All agreed that it was important that seniors have a live graduation over a virtual ceremony as some school districts have been considering.
"A virtual graduation can’t give you the same experience and satisfaction that comes from walking across the stage to get your diploma," said Luis Maldonado of Cocoa High.
"Our school is adamant about getting some of the memories seniors deserve back for them," said Julianna Malek of Space Coast Jr./Sr. High, bringing to light the likelihood of other senior class events such as prom and Grad Bash being canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.
As the district awaits a decision from the state, its high schools are already identifying creative ways to recognize and celebrate their seniors through video compilations, yard signs, senior "shout-outs" and profiles on social media to name a few.