Parents, Staff and Community Members:
Following the Indiana Department of Education guidance that all school facilities are closed until June 30 (indoor and outdoor), and in consultation with students, teachers/staff, community members, and local health officials, we have made the difficult decision to error on the side of safety and hold an alternative commencement on the already scheduled day of May 30, 2020. Please know this is not our preference and the decision did not come lightly.
It is clear that so many things have already changed and that things will continue to change, but if we hold fast to our hope for better days ahead, we can achieve that, even if it means navigating frustrating detours and exploring new paths. We have literally spent hours pouring over the options and without question, believe a virtual commencement is by far the safest plan for our students, staff, parents, grandparents, and community. As a school district, we must always put safety at the very top of our list of priorities.
We realize that this decision is a tremendous disappointment to our graduates, who for years have devoted themselves to reaching this milestone and have looked forward with great anticipation to the celebration that will mark their academic accomplishments. We also realize it is just as disappointing to the families and friends who have supported our students in their educational accomplishments and for whom commencement represents an equally important achievement.
It is also a huge disappointment for us — the teachers, staff, and administrators who have made the journeys of their students their own. We take pride in watching every graduate participate in all the pomp and circumstance of a commencement ceremony — walking across the stage in cap and gown as their names are read, receiving their diplomas and being greeted by their teachers and administrators.
While some may believe our situation will abate within a few months, the public health information we are receiving suggests the rapid and evolving nature of COVID-19 makes the risk to our community too great to allow any type of in-person event. I am certain that the last thing anyone wants is for one of our parents, grandparents, students, or community members to fall ill from the COVID virus from attending an in person event. We also know having a July commencement will automatically exclude some of our students who will be leaving soon after school to start a career in the military. This will allow us to celebrate All of our seniors!
The alternative commencement plan is a senior “parade” that will travel through Pittsboro, Lizton, North Salem, and end at the high school where seniors will pick up their well deserved diplomas while practicing social distancing. Information and details will be communicated in the upcoming week as they are confirmed! There are many elements surrounding cap and gown pick up, cap and gown pictures, student speeches, senior video, and much, much more to be determined. We know this will be something special that our 2020 grads will always remember!
As always, thank you for supporting our students and district!
Yours in Education,