Graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020 will be far from traditional because of coronavirus restrictions on large gatherings.
School districts across North Texas are shifting gears. Some are going virtual, while others will allow graduates to walk across the stage, but with very few guests.
Students and parents are now having to navigate this big change.
School districts, like Dallas Fort Worth, have made decisions to hold virtual graduation ceremonies.
Other districts are still exploring their options, but will likely have to come up with a backup plan.
The senior class of 2020 won’t get to fully experience the moment of accomplishment of walking across the stage to pomp and circumstance.
“Everything was leading up to the end just to get snatched like that, and everyone says it’s not about how you start, it’s how you finish, and your finish line is taken away. I can’t even start to explain how that feels,” graduating senior Seghen Teferi said.
An entire spring of senior events and memories have been canceled.
“I had basketball, I had banquets, I had scholarships, acceptance, decision day. All that ended on March 6, when it’s supposed to end on June 7,” graduating senior Dominiqua Reed said.
Coronavirus restrictions on large gatherings have put a damper on graduation plans.
Districts, such as Mesquite ISD, are having to make alternate plans
“June 7 is our graduation day, and they’re going to have a YouTube ceremony where they’re going to announce our names,” Reed said. “And then after that, you’re going to drive-by in a line. They’re going to give you a time to come by your last name. You’re going to drive-by and pick up your diploma and just leave.”
The district reserved space for back-up graduation dates in July, in case restrictions are lifted on mass gatherings.
Dallas and Fort Worth ISDs are also doing virtual ceremonies.
Allen ISD is allowing students and five members of their family to schedule individual 20-minute time slots where they’ll be able to walk across the stage and take pictures, but unlike previous years, the stands will be empty.
Students and families are still trying to come to grips with what has been taken away
“I’ve been working so hard, and I haven’t seen my family for a while, so my graduation was the time to see everyone,” Teferi said.
“And now it’s kind of like a question of, are we all going to be doing the same thing now? Is this going to be virtual forever? Are our kids going to be able to walk across the stage next year?” said Kassyli Williams, whose niece is graduating.
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Regardless of what happens, seniors and their families still plan to make that day special somehow.
“My parents were coming, grandmother and them are coming in, so it was going to be a huge thing,” said Lakiva Golightly, whose son is graduating. “He was going to walk regardless, if he’s got to walk across his living room, he’s going to walk.”
Dallas ISD is also trying to make an extra effort to acknowledge this year's class of 2020.
They're asking everyone to step outside on May 21 at 7 p.m. to cheer for this year’s graduating seniors.