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Howard County school system releases schedule for pre-recorded virtual graduation ceremonies

The Howard County Public School System on Tuesday released the schedules for pre-recorded virtual high school graduations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The pre-recorded ceremonies will be streamed on a staggered schedule between June 4 and 9 by the school system online and on television (Channel 42 on Verizon and Channel 95 on Comcast).

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The ceremonies are being pre-recorded to limit the risk of complications that a livestreamed graduation could have, according to a news release from the school system.

“Virtual graduations will be pre-recorded due to concerns with online connection stability, to prevent unwelcome interruptions by people looking to digitally interrupt the special celebration, and to eliminate the risk of inappropriate words or actions being broadcast live,” the release states.

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The ceremony schedule is as follows:

  • Mt. Hebron — 10 a.m. June 4
  • River Hill — 2 p.m. June 4
  • Centennial — 6 p.m. June 4
  • Oakland Mills — 9 a.m. June 5
  • Wilde Lake — noon June 5
  • Marriotts Ridge — 3 p.m. June 5
  • Cedar Lane School — 9 a.m. June 8
  • Reservoir — noon June 8
  • Hammond — 3 p.m. June 8
  • Atholton — 6 p.m. June 8
  • Glenelg — 10 a.m. June 9
  • Long Reach — 2 p.m. June 9
  • Howard — 6 p.m. June 9

The virtual graduations will include student speeches and performances, remarks from County Executive Calvin Ball and schools Superintendent Michael Martirano, diploma awarding by a Board of Education member and the turning of the tassels.

The school system originally announced its plans on April 27 to hold virtual graduation ceremonies due to the coronavirus pandemic, with additional plans for online senior awards events and future in-person celebrations. A few days later, Martirano and Anissa Dennis, chief school management and instructional leadership officer, clarified at a Board of Education meeting that the virtual graduations do not mean the schools can’t have traditional, in-person commencements in the future.

Members of the Class of 2020 will receive instructions from their individual schools and are being asked to submit a 5- to 10-second video of themselves in their caps and gowns. During the virtual graduation, each student will either have their graduation picture or the short video with no audio shown as their name is announced.

Starting Thursday, each high school will provide students with a schedule for when they can pick up graduation materials and return school items. Diplomas will begin being distributed at the end of May, and students can receive them once they return items owned by the school system.

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