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All graduations to be virtual this year

No indoor celebrations are permitted

There won't be any in-person graduation ceremonies locally this year. Instead, graduates will attend virtual events.

The four local school boards – Conseil scolaire catholique Franco-Nord, Conseil scholaire public du Nord-Est de l’Ontario, Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board and Near North District School Board – are confirming thay will move ahead with virtual ceremonies.

"There will be an opportunity of a drive-by component in order to provide graduates and a few immediate family members a safe yet unique celebration," says a joint news release. "Elementary school administrators are invited to offer virtual ceremonies to their graduating students with the possibility of a drive-by element if it is feasible and safe."

All scheduled drive-up components will be done with all safety precautions in place and in alignment with the approach outlined in the recently released Guide to End of School Year Celebrations by the Province of Ontario.

The document states,"The guidance provided in this document is intended to support students, in all grades, attending public and private schools to return to school in June for short, outdoor celebrations, where physical distancing is possible.

"School boards may have planned virtual graduation ceremonies which should proceed, and can be augmented or complemented by outdoor end of school year celebrations where possible."

It says no indoor celebrations are permitted.

Principals will be communicating the final details of their ceremonies as it will be left to their discretion to organize the most secure event.

"Any year-end ceremony that involves physically attending a location will be held with the support and recommendations of the Health Unit, whose oversight will address requirements such as COVID pre-screening and masking. We would also like to provide a reminder that gathering before or after any in-person year-end celebration is not permitted by the provincial COVID-19 measures."