Graduations ceremonies are on hold for students across the D.C. area, but Loudoun County school officials have agreed to allow in-person graduations with safety measures in place starting in June.
After a petition was signed by hundreds of parents and supporters, the county school board agreed to allow graduating seniors to walk in individual ceremonies during scheduled times.
The student and up to five members of their family will enter a designated area for the student to receive their diplomas and take photos, all while physical distancing.
Because Virginia is still under Phase One of its reopening guidelines, schools are limited to no more than 10 people per ceremony, according to a Loudoun County Public Schools graduation memo.
Larger schools will have between June 8 and June 24 to complete their ceremonies, while smaller schools will have until June 19.
“It’s not the way any of us envisioned it, but given the circumstances, this gives them the opportunity to have that time to shine,” said Jennifer Watters, whose daughter is graduating from Freedom High School.
Watters was among the parents who signed the petition and supported the school board’s decision.
“As we saw the other counties around us figuring out how to make this work, we became more motivated,” she added.
In April, Superintendent Eric Williams gave his support for in-person graduations, saying that students should have the opportunity to walk the stage, receive their diploma and turn the tassel on their cap.
“These moments should be a part of your experience; in-person high school graduations will happen in Loudoun County,” Williams had said.
- Sign up for WTOP alerts
- Latest coronavirus test results in DC, Maryland and Virginia
- Coronavirus FAQ: What you need to know
- Coronavirus resources: Get and give help in DC, Maryland and Virginia
- Northam: Face coverings required in public in Va. starting Friday
- DC-area members of Congress urge cancellation of July 4 military parade
- Retail shops, hair salons in Howard, Charles counties to reopen Friday
- ‘New way of acting’: Local health leaders discuss DC-area reopening