by Terry Rogers
On April 24, Governor John Carney announced that Delaware schools would remain closed for the remainder of the school year due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, Governor Carney’s ordered schools closed until April 29, an order he extended to May 15th a few weeks later. With this announcement, many students, parents and residents began asking what this meant for high school seniors and their ability to graduate.
“All of our seniors are working toward gaining the appropriate credits for graduation,” Jesse Parsley, Principal of Milford High School, said. “Most students already have the requisite number of credits and are finishing up course requirements. Our teachers and counselors have been in regular communication with our students to ensure that the remote work is being completed. Traditionally, this has always been a busy time for senior students and teachers alike. We are verifying transcripts, meeting with students and communicating with parents regarding graduation status.”
Parsley explained that the district has been discussing many different options regarding graduation and a committee was formed which included parents and current seniors. He pointed out that Milford High School has an amazing support structure with a staff that always thinks “student’s first,” as well as an engaged and caring community.
“We have been discussing graduation since March 13,” Parsley said. “I am confident we will be able to produce events that our families and community will be proud of. Our goal is to conduct all of the traditional senior events. We have applied for permits for the Senior Cruise. We are hoping that in the next seven weeks the number of cases will have decreased to the point where conducting this event is possible. We are currently developing our Senior Awards Event that recognizes academic awards, performance awards and scholarship awards. We are currently working with media sources to develop additional ways to recognize our graduates. We look forward to the end products, which our seniors will be able to look back on as a tribute to the Class of 2020. Several organizations have offered to provide signage, banners and other ways to assist.” All traditional senior events will follow prescribed social distancing guidelines.
On Tuesday, April 28, a Webex meeting was held with a significant number of parents and students to discuss graduation as well as other senior events. Currently graduation is set for June 18th.
“We are discussing several options that include a virtual graduation celebration with a traditional graduation ceremony to follow as deemed appropriate based on the State of Delaware guidelines,” Parsley said. “We will be discussing potential dates and times for a traditional ceremony with the committee. Our hopes are to provide a future traditional graduation ceremony at some point as conditions improve. We would like to provide families with the opportunity for students to pick up diplomas, take photos in graduation regalia and be recognized for this milestone. The meetings scheduled with the committee will help ensure that we have a great plan for conducting senior events.”
On Tuesday, May 5, Milford School District Board of Education will meet electronically in order to discuss additional end of school year processes. The meeting is open to the public and can be accessed by calling 1-408-418-9388 and using access code 716190519 or online at https://milfordsd.webex.com/milfordsd/onstage/e.Dho?MTlD=e92a859b64aa7c3eb3c234d8209c85c46.
“The Class of 2020 deserves to be recognized for all of their hard work throughout their high school years,” Parsley said. “These senior events represent the end of their high school career and beginning of the next chapter in their lives. While these events may not be done traditionally this year, the completion of high school will still be an exciting time for these students.”