Frederick County Public Schools plans to host virtual graduations for the Class of 2020 during the second week of June.
The announcement was made through both a press release and letter to seniors from schools Superintendent Terry Alban.
“I wanted nothing more than to give the Class of 2020 a normal graduation ceremony; but right now, that is just not possible due to the Executive Orders in place to protect the citizens in our state,” Alban said in the letter.
Even as Maryland begins to reopen and move into phase one of Gov. Larry Hogan’s recovery plan, the school system says there are too many uncertainties about what types of gatherings would be allowed to take place moving into the summer.
“We explored so many options and possibilities. Community members shared innovative ideas and made generous offers to help create a special graduation ceremony for you,” Alban said. “All of the creative ideas still violated the requirement for limited social gatherings. That left us with one option — a virtual graduation ceremony.”
Urbana High School senior Christian Kwon was one of the people thinking of creative ideas. Kwon is the elected treasurer of the Urbana High senior class. He and his fellow class officers spent the last few weeks planning and stressing over how to have graduation in person both for themselves and their classmates. A virtual ceremony, he said, was “plan Z.”
After learning of the FCPS announcement, Kwon said even though this is the last thing he or his classmates wanted, he feels he can finally have some closure.
“You have to make do with what you have and unfortunately this is it,” Kwon said. “I know my friends are upset...but it’s out of my hands, all I can do now is put on a bigger smile and help out in any way I can.”
The virtual ceremonies will not be the only form of celebration though. In her letter, Alban said each high school will plan and coordinate their own unique in-person event, which will take place once the governor’s executive orders allow for social gatherings of more than 200 people.
“We have heard the voices of our seniors who want the chance to say good-bye to their teachers, staff at their school, and their friends,” Alban said. “And I look forward to seeing you at that future ‘live’ event.”
FCPS is also developing plans to allow graduates to take a picture in their cap and gown which will be included in the virtual ceremony and shared with friends and family of students.
Planning for the virtual ceremonies is currently underway by FCPS staff and details are expected in the coming weeks.
In addition to the county’s 10 high schools, virtual graduation ceremonies will also take place for the Rock Creek School and SUCCESS Program students.
The ceremonies will be streamed via YouTube, Twitter and Facebook and scheduled to air over FCPS TV.