In the spring of 2020, Dr. Thornton shared with families of seniors the hope to schedule a large-scale, in-person graduation. Seniors and their families had a chance to celebrate their accomplishments on a small scale and watch a video of all the graduates walking across the stage.
Virginia entered Phase 3 of Forward Virginia earlier this month, which we hoped would provide enough flexibility to allow a graduation ceremony where all of our seniors and their family members could be together for a final celebration. In reviewing the guidelines for schools for Phase 3, we discovered the following: Large school gatherings are not encouraged and limited to 250 people, per the large group gathering limitation in Phase III of Forward Virginia. A limitation of 250 people would not even accommodate the students in the Class of 2020 at Smithfield High School. Participation at Windsor High would be limited to just the seniors and possibly one guest.
While we know many of you were eager for a traditional ceremony, state guidelines will not allow us to make that situation a reality. Therefore, there will be no in-person graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020. We are disappointed that we are not able to provide the students and their families with a large-scale celebration of their accomplishments. We trust the experiences both high schools arranged for their seniors, from yard signs, to videos, to special photos, demonstrate the level of care and concern they have for their students.
All of us at Isle of Wight County Schools wish you continued resilience and success as you move on to the next adventures in your life. We are proud of you and look forward to seeing the change you will make in this world for the better.