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LDSB to go ahead with graduations, nix year-end celebrations for all students

The Limestone District School Board says it does not have the ability to plan year-end celebrations for all students. Mike Postovit / Global Kingston

The Limestone District School Board says it is working to recognize and celebrate the end of the school year for students graduating from grades 8 and 12, however, larger-scale in-person events for non-graduating students are not possible.

According to an update released by the school board Thursday, schools do not have the capacity or time to meet the required public health protocols to ensure student, family and staff safety at end-of-year celebrations for all students.

Read more: TDSB and TCDSB won’t have outdoor grads despite Ontario government encouragement, citing limited prep time

“In most cases, Limestone schools will proceed with previously planned graduation events that include a hybrid of virtual ceremonies and individual in-person appointments; smaller-scale options that pose the least risk as per guidance from KFL&A Public Health. Individual schools have special plans in place to recognize all graduates,” said the statement posted to the school board’s website.

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The board said not all families will be able to attend the events that are planned.

According to the school board, students in Grade 6 who are leaving for another school may also have an opportunity for an appointment-based celebration. Schools will finalize individual arrangements for graduation events and communicate these plans to families as soon as possible.

The board’s announcement comes following Premier Doug Ford’s announcement last week that students in Ontario would not be returning to the classroom until September. During the announcement, Ford indicated he would like schools to arrange for year-end celebrations for all students.

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The school board says graduation will look different this year to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19. Graduates will receive specific information from their school about their individual ceremony. As per Ministry of Education requirements, all events will take place outdoors.

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The board says schools will work directly with families to arrange individual appointment opportunities to attend the school in person to collect diplomas and awards. Up to two guests are invited to accompany the student while adhering to all public health protocols. All attendees must pre-screen for symptoms of COVID-19, validate their screening upon arrival, sign in for contact tracing purposes, wear masks, perform hand hygiene and maintain two-metre physical distancing at all times. Gathering on school property before and after these appointments is not permitted.

The school board says it will offer an opportunity for all students to attend school individually to pick up any belongings that were left behind and collect report cards.

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