The district has sent out a letter from John McAllister, Upper Canada District School Board chair (UCDSB), and Stephen Sliwa, UCDSB education director, to Grade 12 students and their families regarding plans to postpone all official graduation ceremonies until next year. A copy of the letter was also issued to local news media.
“Given the circumstances and the uncertainties of this global pandemic,” states the letter, “and in consultation with public health authorities, the Upper Canada District School Board has no option but to postpone the June 2020 graduation ceremonies at all of our secondary schools, and at our TR Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education, until June 2021.”
The letter noted that the education ministry urges school districts to honour student achievement “when it is safe to do so” and also confirms that postponement of this year’s grad ceremony does not mean no graduation at all for district students.
“Please note that moving the ceremonies to June 2021 will not impact the ability of our students to actually graduate from high school if they have met the diploma program requirements,” stated the letter, adding that the UCDSB is “following the example” of other school districts, colleges and universities that are postponing their graduation events.
The letter also noted that administration at several UCDSB schools are looking into “a wide range of alternative and suitable ways to celebrate and send off our graduation class of 2020” and that parents and students will receive notice when the graduation committee for their school has devised a plan, whether a stand-alone ceremony or combined with the graduating class of 2021, or as part of the annual senior program next term.
“Our graduates have worked hard to achieve their high school diplomas,” states the letter, “and all of us are committed to ensuring they have the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments with family and friends at a commencement ceremony.”