Clovis Unified School District announced Friday, April 24, that it is postponing its graduation ceremonies to August, but still giving seniors the option to have a “graduation experience” at the end of May.
CUSD Superintendent Eimear O’Farrell said the district is working to reserve a venue for the postponed graduation, which is slated to take place the week of Aug. 10.
“We have heard overwhelmingly from our parents and students that the number one option in this situation would be to postpone our graduation, and we agree,” O’Farrell said during a discussion with CUSD high school principals that was broadcast on Facebook Live.
“We want to do that and we want to hold on to that possibility, knowing that we don’t have a crystal ball and we don’t know what kind of restrictions will be in place at that time,” she continued.
Clovis Unified still hoped to have its annual graduation ceremonies at the end of May and beginning of June. But the Fresno County Department of Public Health prohibited the district from doing so.
“Our ideal situation would be to host our traditional graduation ceremonies at the end of May and June as we do every year, however our Fresno County Department of Public health has directed us that we would not be permitted to do so in our normal fashion,” O’Farrell said.
Eimear said the district recognized that several students may leave town for college or to join the military by the time the August graduation takes place. That is why the district plans on allowing students to have a “graduation experience” at the end of May or beginning of June.
The district would assign students a specific date and time to have the ceremony. The times would be staggered to allow social distancing measures. Members of the graduating senior’s immediate family would be able to attend to witness the moment.
“Our vision is that we would provide an opportunity for our students to walk across their graduation stage in their cap and gown, receive in-person any academic awards or recognitions that they earned, have their name announced, and be handed their high school diploma by their school principal,” O’Farrell said.
“This would all be in addition to the possibility of having our normal graduation ceremony in August,” she said.
O’Farrell also said Clovis Unified is working to obtain more graduation caps and gowns, as the business that the district traditionally borrows from shut down because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Earlier this week, Clovis Unified announced it is still hoping to send students back to school before the end of the semester, officially extending distance learning to May 22.