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County schools announce plans for virtual graduation ceremonies

The Howard County Public School System released plans Monday to recognize the Class of 2020 with virtual graduation ceremonies scheduled for early June and other celebrations in the future.

High school commencements, which won’t be held in person this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, are expected to be held virtually between June 1 and 9, according to a news release from the school system. Specific dates and times for the ceremonies are still being finalized.

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The announcement came after a virtual meeting between school system leaders and county high school principals, with input from Allison Alston, the student member of the Board of Education, and members of the Senior Student Committee.

“Our seniors have worked so hard throughout their academic career, and I am disappointed that the current situation will prevent us from having an in-person graduation and other celebratory activities,” Howard schools Superintendent Michael Martirano said Monday afternoon.

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“It is so important that we take care of our high school seniors and provide them with experiences that celebrate their tremendous accomplishments. I appreciate the collaborative work of our student advisory group led by student member of the board Allison Alston to identify several opportunities for recognition and celebration.”

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he county’s 12 public high schools — as well as Cedar Lane School and Homewood Center — are each planning virtual senior awards ceremonies to honor their graduating seniors and to announce awards and scholarships. Each school will also host an in-person celebration at some point in the future for seniors to spend time with their classmates. No new information is available about what Howard schools intend to do about proms.

In the meantime, yard signs with school names and Class of 2020 on them have been ordered by each high school to show support for seniors. The school system is also considering other celebrations, including superlatives, slideshows and opportunities for seniors to share their future plans.

The school system said specific dates, times and other details for the virtual graduation and awards ceremonies, as well as the in-person celebrations, will be announced at a later date.

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