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Point and click commencement: Roanoke County schools organizing virtual graduations

Schools planning in-person celebrations for later dates

Local school districts organizing online graduation ceremonies
Local school districts organizing online graduation ceremonies

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – High school seniors across the state will not be able to walk the stage because of COVID-19, but Roanoke County Public Schools has an alternative plan in place.

Superintendent Ken Nicely said all five high schools in the county will have their own virtual graduation ceremonies in May. The school district will perform five different ceremonies at each high school’s auditorium, but graduates must watch them online.

Nicely said he is planning for the possibility of an in-person commencement at the Salem Civic Center this summer if social distancing guidelines allow it. He admits the virtual graduation likely will not completely fill the void of a traditional graduation.

“We’re human beings. That human experience of being able to hug each other, celebrate together, and have that common bond. That’s what graduates do," Nicely said." It’s not just an individual accomplishment, but a collective accomplishment as a class.”

Nicely added graduates will pick up their diplomas from their high school before the virtual graduation.