COVID-19 caused the district to close schools and cancel many end-of-the-year events, but the district hopes to host graduations and dances in July.
After Sarasota County Schools officials made the decision to close schools for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, many students in the class of 2020 feared they would miss out on proms and graduation ceremonies.
However, the district on Wednesday announced plans to still honor the class of 2020.
In the coming weeks, the district will work with each traditional public high school to schedule in-person graduation ceremonies for late July as well as a dance for seniors.
A date for each school's celebrations are pending, but they will be held between July 16-26.
“We want to ensure the district’s Class of 2020 has all the recognition and fanfare possible,” Mitsi Corcoran, interim superintendent, said in a statement. “Graduation ceremonies and dances are milestones and rites of passage that all seniors should be able to enjoy."
All in-person graduation ceremonies and dances will be subject to cancellations depending on the most current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and guidance from the Department of Health.
The district also is planning a digital tribute for each school's senior class in the event that the postponed graduations have to be canceled. If the senior dances are canceled, schools will incorporate a special recognition for the class of 2020 during their homecoming celebrations in the fall.
"With so much change and uncertainty ahead, we felt it was important to make plans that acknowledge our graduating seniors and provide the ability for them to forge their own memories," Corcoran said. ".... It’s disappointing that the Class of 2020 will not have the same commencement experiences as in years past, but we’re confident that these plans, as well as a few other surprises, will remind our graduating seniors and their families how much we care about them and how proud we are of their hard work.”