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Indoor graduation ceremonies are unlikely this fall: SCDSB

July 16, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Graduation ceremonies looked very different this past June, not only in New Tecumseth but around the world.

In light of the global pandemic, there were no in-person commencements or gathering of educators, parents, and students to recognize Grade 12s and 8s accomplishments in Simcoe County.

Instead, these milestones were celebrated online.

“Our staff did an outstanding job recognizing our graduates and not just our Grade 12 graduates, but those students moving on from Grade 8, we did virtual celebrations, we had special gift bags for some students,” said Jody Lloyd, Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB) Chairperson. “It was really a decision that was made on a school to school basis, what they felt was best for their school community…but there was a lot of really unique things done.” 

“We were able to celebrate our graduations with virtual ceremonies and we had students who managed to pickup caps and gowns at schools,” she continued.

“We put a significant amount of effort into this because they are major accomplishments and we did not want the school year to end without those accomplishments being recognized.”

All of the celebrations were never before done virtually as the school board has never faced a health crisis that’s prevented annual graduation ceremonies from taking place.

SCDSB Student Trustee Maya Aldis, who just graduated from Nottawasaga Pines Secondary School and represented Banting Memorial students during her tenure, said she’s very grateful for her virtual commencement.

“I know it’s definitely not what a lot of students thought that our graduation ceremony would be, but I also know that many of us are very, very thankful to have the opportunity to celebrate and recognize our achievements,” said Aldis.

Unfortunately, with the current conditions surrounding COVID-19, Lloyd told the Times it’s “highly doubtful” that indoor graduation ceremonies for SCDSB’s over 50,000 students will be able to go forward this fall.

“I think the likelihood of that is very slim,” she noted. “Our board took the premise that we were going to celebrate our students in June and if there was the opportunity to have receptions or follow up in the fall then that would be wonderful, but I think some of the physical distancing requirements that are in place will be in place for quite some time.”

A formal announcement regarding future graduation celebrations for SCDSB students will be made as the Ford Government releases its guidelines for gatherings this autumn.

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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