Hillsborough high school seniors to graduate in July

Florida graduation rate
Dates could change if coronavirus lingers into summer.

Hillsborough County will hold graduation ceremonies for high school seniors in July, the school board announced Tuesday.

“Student leaders at each of our high schools collaborated with our graduation committee to come up with an alternate graduation plan because of coronavirus concerns,” an update on the Hillsborough County Schools website reads.

The website lists a tentative schedule for graduation ceremonies. The first set would be held on July 13, with the last scheduled for July 21. The ceremonies would be held at the Florida State Fairgrounds.

The first graduation date for exceptional centers and virtual schools would be July 8, with the last ones scheduled for July 23.

The dates could shift, however.

“If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not adjust their current guidelines for the summer months and do not allow public gatherings of more than 50 people, our district will explore options to provide virtual graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020,” the update reads. “Please know that the virtual option will be the LAST resort.

“We hope this will allow you and your family to make plans. We will make adjustments as we receive more information from the state and the Department of Health.”

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the school year for all Florida students.

Last month the state ordered school campuses shuttered. What was once pitched as an extended spring break was extended through mid-April before Gov. Ron DeSantis ultimately announced schools would remain closed for the rest of the 2019-20 school year.

“It’s obviously not the ideal situation, but given where we are in the school year, we felt that that was the best decision to go forward,” he said Sunday.

The pandemic has also led state university campuses to transition to online-only classes. Most have also canceled in-person classes for the summer semester and are evaluating whether to do the same for the fall semester, depending on whether there is a resurgence.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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