TAMPA BAY, Fla. — Traditional graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020 have had to be altered due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here is what school districts in the Tampa Bay area are doing to celebrate their graduates:
DeSoto County Schools has not made any announcements regarding graduation ceremonies, at the time of publication.
The Citrus County School District celebrated their graduates in May.
The School District of Hardee County launched their "Virtual Graduation Program" on Friday July 3.
Hernando County is holding their graduation ceremonies later in the summer:
- Nature Coast Technical High School: Wednesday, July 29th at 8:00 PM (rain date July 30th, 9 AM) at NCTH
- F.W. Springstead High School: Thursday July 30th at 8:00 PM (rain date July 31st, 9 AM) at SHS
- Central High School: Friday, July 31st at 7:30 PM at Grace World Church
- Weeki Wachee High School: Saturday, August 1st at 3:00 PM at Grace World Church
- Hernando High School: Saturday, August 1st at 7:30 PM at Grace World Church
Click here for more information.
The School Board of Highlands County Superintendent Longshore said in a video announcement that graduations will be held in late July.
- Avon Park High School: July 24, High School Football Field
- Highlands Virtual School: Info coming soon
- Lake Placid High School: July 25, High School Football Fields
- Sebring High School: July 23, Alan Jay Arena or High School Football Field
Hillsborough County Public Schools announced it will hold virtual ceremonies on Saturday, July 25 due to coronavirus concerns.
The school district had originally planned to celebrate the Class of 2020 by having commencement ceremonies at the Florida State Fairgrounds but announced on June 30 that the district will make the ceremonies virtual.
Hillsborough County Public Schools is contracting with an outside vendor to create virtual graduation videos that will be shared with families. Each high school will also celebrate their graduates with drive-thru diploma ceremonies where seniors can don their cap and gown and take the traditional graduation photo with their principal, employing distancing measures.
The School Board of Manatee County says graduation ceremonies will take place at the LECOM Park July 27 through August 1.
- Monday, July 27: Southeast High School, LECOM Park, 9 a.m.
- Tuesday, July 28: Braden River High School, LECOM Park, 9 a.m.
- Tuesday, July 28: Manatee High School, Hawkins Stadium, 8 p.m.
- Wednesday, July 29: Lakewood Ranch High School, LECOM Park, 9 a.m.
- Thursday, July 30: Palmetto High School, LECOM Park, 9 a.m.
- Saturday, August 1: Bayshore High School, LECOM Park, 9 a.m.
In-person graduation ceremonies have been scheduled from July 17 through July 31, with most of the ceremonies taking place outdoors in the schools’ stadiums.
Here is the graduation schedule:
Friday, July 17
- Fivay High School - 7:30 p.m. at FHS Stadium
- Zephyrhills High School - 7:30 p.m. at ZHS Stadium
- Wesley Chapel High School - 7:30 p.m. at WCHS Stadium
Saturday, July 18th
- Land O' Lakes High School - 8:00 p.m. at LOLHS Stadium
Monday, July 20
- Pasco eSchool - 7:30 p.m. at Crews Lake MS Cafeteria
Wednesday, July 22
- Sun Lake High School - 8:30 a.m. at SLHS Stadium
- Wendell Krinn Technical High School - 6:00 p.m. at WKTHS Stadium
Friday, July 24
- Cypress Creek High School - 7:30 p.m. at CCHS Stadium
- JW Mitchell High School - 7:30 p.m. at JWMHS Stadium
- Pasco High School - 7:30 p.m. at PHS Stadium
Saturday, July 25
- Gulf High School - 9:00 a.m. at JWMHS Stadium
Wednesday, July 29
- Marchman Technical College - 7:30 p.m. at WKTHS Stadium
Friday, July 31
- River Ridge High School - 7:30 p.m. at RRHS Stadium
- Anclote High School - 7:30 p.m. at AHS Stadium
- Hudson High School - 7:30 p.m. at HHS Stadium
- Wiregrass Ranch High School - 7:30 p.m. at WRHS Stadium
Pinellas County Schools held in-person graduations at Spectrum Field the first week of July.
Polk County Public Schools will conduct its 2020 graduation ceremonies at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland.
See the graduation schedule here.
Sarasota County Schools is working with each traditional public high school in the district to schedule an in-person graduation ceremony in late July, as well as a dance for seniors, to honor each school’s Class of 2020.
"A date for each school’s potential in-person graduation ceremony is still pending, but if health and safety guidelines permit, all ceremonies will be scheduled some time between Thursday, July 16 and Sunday, July 26," the district said in a press release.
“We want to ensure the district’s Class of 2020 has all the recognition and fanfare possible,” commented Mitsi Corcoran, interim superintendent of Sarasota County Schools. “Graduation ceremonies and dances are milestones and rites of passage that all seniors should be able to enjoy. With so much change and uncertainty ahead, we felt it was important to make plans that acknowledge our graduating seniors and provide the ability for them to forge their own memories. Our student, staff and community’s safety are our utmost concern, so we also need to understand that all plans are subject to the guidance from the CDC and Department of Health. It’s disappointing that the Class of 2020 will not have the same commencement experiences as in years past, but we’re confident that these plans, as well as a few other surprises, will remind our graduating seniors and their families how much we care about them and how proud we are of their hard work.”