Guilford County Schools is postponing its traditional graduation ceremonies in May and June due to the coronavirus pandemic. The district’s 28 high schools will hold “drive-thru” recognitions instead to honor graduating seniors. The district announced the plan today.
The decision was made after hearing from parents and meeting with senior class presidents, high school principals and district leadership, most of whom indicated a preference for either in-person or drive-thru events. Student leaders did not favor holding virtual ceremonies.
The district intends to host in-person ceremonies as soon as it is safe to do so, pending the availability of venues. An in-person graduation still looks to be months away as to comply with Governor Cooper’s phased reopening plan. Guilford County currently has 626 cases of COVID-19 which ranks 4th in the state.
GCS’ 28 high schools anticipate graduating about 5,600 seniors this school year. Most school facilities lack the appropriate accommodations to host large socially distanced graduations.
“This pandemic has completely altered what is supposed to be one of the most memorable moments in a student’s life,” said Superintendent Sharon Contreras. “We know this solution isn’t perfect, but our students were clear they did not want virtual graduations. We believe this is the best solution to keep students safe, while still giving everyone a way to immediately celebrate our outstanding seniors.”
Each school will conduct their own drive-thru recognition event to ensure the district is still complying with Governor Cooper’s executive order prohibiting groups larger than 10 to gather. A new schedule will be published soon. Notifications will be sent to families and schools as soon as the dates are confirmed.
GCS and individual schools also are celebrating graduating seniors by celebrating college signing day and sharing videos of college decisions along with photo ops for cap and gown pickup. The district will continue to celebrate the Class of 2020 on the website and social media.