Past the time when seniors in the Casa Grande Union High School District would have walked up in caps and gowns and received their diplomas, the district has decided that won’t happen this year. The district board, administration and staff considered the possibility while also planning for virtual graduations, and the latter won out under federal Phase 1 guidelines and fear of liability.
Meanwhile, some districts have held modified graduations while trying to maintain social distancing. The reason for different approaches is that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented situation and there is no one, good answer for coping with it. If another example of this is needed, look at the way the economy collapsed amid a national and worldwide shutdown that has thankfully slowed, but not stopped, the disease.
In the CGUHS District, elsewhere in Pinal County and nationally, graduates are being honored in various and creative ways. Besides virtual graduations for Casa Grande Union and Vista Grande High School to be streamed later this month, there are or will be stadium light displays, fireworks and social media posts. An in-person ceremony is intended later in the year, but of course by then many students will have moved on emotionally or literally, because some will be attending college and living elsewhere.
As the 2019-20 school year ends, the district is being forced to plan for reopening school in a couple of months with many unknowns for that time as well. While things are likely to be closer to normal, challenges and modifications will be at the forefront.
Some students and parents have insisted that there was a way to have a traditional ceremony, but under the circumstances, it just was not advisable. Again, the liability factor looms large in life today, often too large, and that’s unfortunate. Graduation is a memorable time for most seniors, and this one certainly will be memorable for the way life changed in 2020. That isn’t the situation anyone would choose, but it will be talked about indefinitely nonetheless.