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Knox County Schools announces plans to hold in-person graduations in summer

The plan are not totally set in stone yet and will be highly dependent on how the COVID-19 pandemic shakes out in the next few months.

Knox County Schools and health leaders met Wednesday to discuss the possibility of allowing seniors to receive their diplomas in-person over the summer.

As of right now, the plans are not completely set in stone. However, Knox County Schools is working with the Knox County Health Department to find a way to give seniors a proper graduation ceremony.

Tentatively, the ceremony could be held as early as July 22 outdoors at high school stadiums or the World's Fair Park pavilion for schools without stadiums. Depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic ends up in the summer, KCS is also looking at the possibility of allowing a limited number of parents to attend the ceremony. 

KCS Superintendent Bob Thomas said realistically, ceremonies would likely be held on dates between July 27 and August 8.

For now, the ceremony would mainly just include graduates, and parents wouldn't be allowed to attend and would instead watch from a live stream. If the situation allows and the rate of infections is lower, though, KCS said it may be possible to allow some parents to attend. Parents will be able to receive a recording of the graduation, as well. 

“We know this is not an ideal situation, but please know that we’re working hard to make sure this will be a safe and memorable occasion for our seniors,” Thomas said.

If the coronavirus sees a resurgence and greater social distancing measures need to be re-implemented, though, it is likely the graduation plans will be scrapped.

KCHD and KCS said they are keeping a close eye on the situation and will announce more details in the coming weeks. In the meantime, both are encouraging everyone to continue social distancing and to follow health guidelines to ensure this graduation ceremony is able to become a reality.

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