Coronavirus: Students in Sooke, B.C., to get in-person grad ceremony, but parents not allowed

The class of 2020 in the Sooke School District will be getting a graduation stage ceremony after all.

Superintendent Scott Stinson laid out the plan, which will take COVID-19 social and physical distancing measures into account, in a Facebook video on Wednesday.

The district made the call to move ahead with the modified ceremonies following provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice on reopening the province last week, he said.

“We will now be able to offer an in-person crossing of the stage graduation ceremony for those students that would like to participate in that,” said Stinson.

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“This will allow you to dress in your cap and gown and formal attire underneath if that’s what you choose.

The ceremonies will be conducted in small groups, with students called onto the stage one at a time.

Parents will not be permitted to attend in order to limit the size of the gathering.

Instead, the district will provide a professional photographer to capture the moment and provide a memento for students and their families.

“We hope that by providing this photo you’ll have a recognition of this time for your child,” said Stinson.

The events will take place in the week of June 22 – June 25, and will occur during regular school hours.

The district will also move ahead with a video tribute that was initially planned for an online graduation ceremony.

Earlier this month, Sooke students started a petition calling for an in-person grad ceremony, arguing the district had moved too quickly to replace the event with an online alternative.

About 4,600 people signed the petition over two weeks.

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