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Traditional graduation ceremonies are off

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MONTPELIER — Whatever faint hopes there may have been that traditional high school graduation ceremonies could be held in Vermont this year have met with the cold facts of the need for social distancing.

Although the state is seeing positive trends in COVID-19 numbers, such traditional ceremonies will not be a possibility in Vermont this year, Secretary of Education Dan French announced at a press conference Friday.

"In terms of graduation, it is a disappointment for our students," French said. "Certainly, my heart goes out to those students."

Friday was the deadline for such a decision to be issued.

These traditional ceremonies won't be possible because current public health guidance still limits the size of gatherings to 10 people or less, French said.

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Any such events larger than the guidance permits would have to occur by means "other than in-person gatherings," he said.

These gatherings should also be designed to ensure equal access and participation, he said.

Officials do expect Vermont schools will be able to return to in-person instruction in the fall, he said.

"We're going to start planning along those lines," French said.

Schools should also follow their existing calendars for the rest of the school year, he said.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at pleboeuf@benningtonbanner.com, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.


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