Graduation ceremonies will look a little different for the Class of 2020.
The Kamloops-Thompson school district is recommending an alternative for its 14 graduation events due to ongoing physical-distancing measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
In lieu of the traditional ceremony in which Grade 12 students receive their diplomas in front of crowds of family and friends, schools are being advised to hold staggered, scheduled celebrations with each graduate.
Dressed in cap and gown, students will attend their respective schools to receive a Dogwood diploma in the company of immediate household family members.
The individual ceremonies will be filmed and edited to produce a video for each school of its graduates, along with pre-recorded speeches from valedictorians, school trustee representatives and Supt. Alison Sidow.
The finished product will be available for all family members to access online.
School district assistant superintendent Bill Hamblett said it could take days to complete the individual ceremonies at some larger schools, noting each meeting will involve participants adhering to physical-distancing rules.
Hamblett told KTW the district hopes to have videos of the ceremonies completed by the end of June.
The school district compiled two other possible scenarios ahead of the province unveiling its four-phased plan for easing restrictions — postponing graduation ceremonies until August or September if public health measures intensify or proceeding with traditional June commencements later in the month if restrictions were lifted significantly or removed.
But with B.C’s plan now unveiled, neither of those scenarios appear likely.
The province will not allow gatherings of more than 50 people until there is a vaccine for COVID-19 or widespread herd immunity — and a vaccine, if one can be developed, is still likely at least a year away.
“For those graduating in 2020 and will not be having a ceremony, I regret that very much,” Premier John Horgan said. “I hope that there will be ways that we can mark this milestone in the days ahead and maybe next year we can have that party that you deserve after completing your Grade 12 education.”
Individual grad ceremonies across the district are scheduled to take place in late May and early June.