“We’re really hoping to hand them a diploma in July.”
Those were the words of District 112 Superintendent Clint Christopher at a Monday, May 4 school board workshop, after all families with seniors received notifications that graduation ceremonies have been postponed.
Previously scheduled for Friday, June 5, the new date is Saturday, July 25 at the high school football stadiums in Chaska and Chanhassen. A rain date is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 1.
“I know there’s been a lot of nervousness. What are we doing. I have a senior in my house, and it’s no different for her. We’ve been working on this for a month,” Christopher said. “This gives us the best chance possible for an in-person opportunity for graduation.”
Though the district and Christopher remain optimistic, alternative plans are being drawn up. Knowing some students will be unable to attend in late July, and wanting to celebrate every senior’s accomplishments, the high schools are producing a virtual video closely resembling a normal graduation ceremony.
Staff and student speakers will record their messages from Grace Church in Eden Prairie, the normal venue for District 112 graduations. Those videos will be accompanied by photos of all students in their cap and gown, as well as a baby photo.
Cap and gown pick-up is set for Thursday, May 7 (9 to 11 a.m., 2 to 4 p.m.) and Friday, May 8 (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) for Chaska High School students, and Friday, May 8 (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for students with last names beginning A-M; 2 to 4 p.m. for letters N-Z; 4 to 6 p.m. open) for Chanhassen High School students.
Students at Integrated Arts Academy have had their graduation moved from June 4 to Friday, July 24. A location has yet to be determined. IAA students should e-mail Carol Eliason at email@example.com or call 507-291-8664 to schedule the pick-up of caps and gowns on Tuesday, May 12 (12 to 2 p.m. or 4 to 6 p.m.).
Additionally, Christopher continued his COVID-19 updates at each board meeting, noting that the district is currently tackling what summer programs may look like.
Credit recovery for high school students will go on as past, though web-based. The district is looking to the state for guidance on how to handle summer school for kindergarten through eighth-grade students.
“Right now, there’s not a lot of great options,” Christopher said.
The school board also acknowledged the final days for students — June 2 for K-5 and June 4 for 6-12 — is likely to remain. The National Department of Education has guided schools to keep distance learning going through the entire 2019-20 calendar year.