The Fort Worth Independent School District says seniors graduating this year will take part in "virtual" ceremonies instead of the more traditional ones due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19.
Due to the pandemic, students have been out of school learning remotely since mid-March and are not returning to campus this school year on an order from the governor.
Though Gov. Greg Abbott's Open Texas plan allows for restaurants, malls, movie theaters and retail businesses to open their doors on Friday, May 1, physical distancing guidelines are still in place and large gatherings remain an impossibility for now.
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As a result, nearly 5,000 graduating seniors in the district will take part in an online commencement ceremony in June. The district will hold ceremonies for 21 different campuses celebratign graduations -- a schedule will be released soon.
The district said the virtual graduation will use technology to allow students to share photos of themselves in cap and gown – as well a personalized message as they “move the tassel” to indicate their status as newly-minted graduates.
The district said they plan to do everything possible to make this life event special for the Class of 2020 and their families.
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“We believe this decision to hold virtual graduation ceremonies is in the best interest of our students, their families and our many employees who each year participate in commencement ceremonies," said Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Dr. Kent Scribner. “It is profoundly disappointing that our seniors will not have the opportunity to celebrate their hard-earned success in person with their peers, their parents, and their teachers, but it is the right thing to do for everyone concerned.”
Graduating seniors will receive individual notices from their schools telling them when they can pick up their caps and gowns and other commencement regalia.
A link to a special online platform will enable family and friends to participate in the online ceremony from any location.