With schools closed, Tri-State seniors left wondering about graduation plans

Posted at 3:58 PM, Apr 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 00:23:33-04

HEBRON, Ky. — A drive-thru graduation ceremony is among the options being considered for seniors in Boone County, Deputy Superintendent Eric McArtor said.

With schools closed for the remainder of the academic year due to COVID-19, seniors and school officials are trying to figure out how to have a graduation ceremony amid a pandemic.

McArtor said a virtual graduation ceremony and a drive-thru graduation are some of the possibilities.

“... (we’re) looking at different options, of possibly a drive-thru graduation, where cars come up and we hand them their diploma that way,” McArtor said.

Lauren Taylor, a Conner High School senior, is one of the students having Zoom meetings with school officials to discuss possibilities for graduation.

Taylor said they’ve talked about having a ceremony on Zoom, where they could show photos of each senior.

“I think for us, if we just see each other that would be the best possibility,” Taylor said.

Carmela Cotter, principal of Middletown High School, said the school has moved its graduation date to July.

“It’s such a challenge because we’re so excited to be able to honor the kids, but it’s really just impossible to bring them all together right now and be safe and make sure we’re abiding by the orders and making sure everyone stays healthy,” Cotter said.

If COVID-19 cases spike in the summer, Cotter said officials will consider doing something for the seniors in the fall.

"We started planning for graduation about a week ago," said Newport Independent Schools Superintendent Kelly Middleton. "One option was to maybe have it in July or later, but if you look at (reopening) Phase 1 or Phase 2 in Kentucky, we haven't hit 14 days yet."

Middleton said they're also exploring a virtual or drive-up event, as well as stadium light displays and yard signs planted in seniors' front yards.

At the time this article was published, the majority of Tri-State school districts had not made official decisions on graduation. WCPO has reached out to school districts across the Tri-State and will update this story as schools announce their graduation plans.