Dare County Schools’ Superintendent, John Farrelly, stated that graduation plans for the class of 2020 will be re-evaluated on June 1 in an emailed message to students, parents and their families.
Per the update, the delay in finalizing plans will allow Dare County schools more time to see if the state of North Carolina moves into deeper re-entry phases that may include more individuals being allowed to participate in mass gatherings.
This, in turn, could affect graduation options for the class of 2020, including the potential for outdoor ceremonies. “Each school principal will consider the options that may be available, and [will] work with our leadership team to reexamine our plans,” stated Dr. Farrelly.
The full message from Superintendent John Farrelly is below.
Good afternoon Dare County Families,
I have made working collaboratively with Dare County School stakeholders a priority in the 3 years that I have been superintendent. We spent almost 18 months in holding over 80 stakeholder meetings to get community input as we built our 5-year strategic plan. We have surveyed stakeholders many, many times so that staff, students, and parents can contribute to creating the vision for our school system but even more importantly see it through. I believe that we can make better-informed decisions for our schools when we are active listeners and problem solvers.
Well, we have listened again.
After getting several communications from caring and passionate stakeholders regarding our graduation plan, we have decided to wait and re-evaluate our plan until June 1. This will allow us more time to see if the state of North Carolina moves into deeper re-entry phases that may include more individuals being allowed to participate in mass gatherings. This could affect our graduation options.
Several members of the community have expressed a desire to have ceremonies at their traditional venues, which are different for each school. The traditional options at FFHS and CHSS are available. However, with the executive order from the Governor that bans any mass gatherings over 10, it would take 3-4 days at FFHS to get all families scheduled and through our process. The weather could play a significant factor if FFHS events were on the football field, thus the concept of holding the events inside. MHS has traditionally held its graduation ceremony at the Waterside Theatre. The theatre has been closed by the national parks service due to the mass gatherings mandate. However, I have communicated today with Superintendent Dave Hallac of the National Parks Service and he has received permission from his supervisor in Atlanta, Georgia for MHS to host an event following mass gathering directives (currently maximum 10). A special thank you to Dave who is a superior park superintendent and an even better person. Each school principal will consider the options that may be available and work with our leadership team to reexamine our plans.
I know that this is a stressful time and is frustrating for seniors and their families. We want the same thing- a special send off for our seniors that they have earned. We are trying to be thoughtful in our decision-making while following Governor Cooper’s orders to protect our health and the welfare of others.
We will continue to monitor developments, communicate with our local health department and government officials, and make an announcement regarding next steps on June 1.