London taking combination approach to commencement

(Posted May 13, 2020)

By Josephine Birdsell, Staff Writer

London City Schools is taking a “blended”–online and in-person–approach to high school graduation this year.

Students were invited to walk across the graduation stage in front of their families last week. Each student who chose to walk was recorded; the recordings are being compiled into a larger graduation video. Then, on May 24, the high school will host a graduation parade, where students can drive in to pick up their diplomas.

The district is working to both honor students and maintain safe practices in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19), said Dr. Lou Kramer, superintendent.

The graduation ceremony recording allowed the district to follow social distancing guidelines by allowing only a single student to walk across the stage at a time. Students walked in front of their family members only, limiting the number of individuals gathered at any time.

On May 24, the drive-through diploma pickup will allow students to remain safely distanced within their cars. A limited number of staff members will be present to pass out diplomas from 2 to 4 p.m.

The district will broadcast the full pre-recorded graduation–including commencement speeches and students receiving diplomas–from their YouTube channel at 5 p.m. May 24.

Prior to planning graduation events, the district “sat down and had multiple meetings with senior representatives for input,” Kramer said.

The district found that students considered walking across the graduation stage in front of their families to be most important. The district is pleased to maintain this part of commencement, even in an untraditional format, Kramer said.

“Ultimately, (what we do) comes down to the direction of Madison County Public Health,” Kramer said.

The district is considering holding a larger graduation celebration over the summer, dependent upon health guidelines.

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