MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis Public Schools says the district’s 2020 graduating class will have a virtual graduation ceremony, on the same day as their originally-scheduled ceremonies.

Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the district has decided that these virtual gatherings are necessary due to the need for social distancing.

“We understand the incredible meaning that traditional graduation ceremonies hold for students and families,” MPS Superintendent Ed Graff told the media. “This was certainly not our first choice, but in consultation with our Citywide Student Government, principals and health officials we believe this is currently the best option for our 12 District high schools.”

Graff continued that he hopes the Class of 2020 will “find new ways to make memories and celebrate this rite of passage,” despite the unexpected circumstances.

Organizers are still working on finalizing all of the details, but they say they plan to stream graduation ceremonies for each high school on Facebook Live. The streams will be accessible through a link on the district’s website or on Minneapolis comcast cable channel 15.

Planners say some parts of the graduation will be live, while other parts will be pre-recorded. Then, every ceremony will be archived on MPS’ website for later viewing, according to a news release.

Families can expect more information about caps, gowns, diploma covers and other logistics to be shared soon.

“Our hope is to provide students and families with an e-invite to send to family and friends so that they can gather virtually from around the world to watch students earn their high school diplomas,” High School Associate Superintendent Dr. Shawn Harris-Berry wrote. “Our goal is to make these ceremonies as special as possible for these students who have accomplished so much during their school careers.”

“This isn’t the graduation celebration most had in mind, but MPS is committed to hosting an innovative alternative that keeps students, staff and families safe. MPS is proud of the Class of 2020’s courage and calm during this uncertain time and looks forward to celebrating with them on a job well done,” Harris-Berry finished.

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