Illinois State Board of Education Issues Guidance on Graduation Ceremonies

The month of May is usually filled with graduation ceremonies and end-of-the year celebrations for students’ accomplishments. The coronavirus has completely changed the way these rituals are executed.

The Illinois State Board of Education issued guidance for schools on how to hold these ceremonies. It’s up to local school boards and superintendents whether or not to have socially distanced graduation ceremonies.

The board strongly encourages districts to hold digital events and to use social media to highlight graduates with hashtags and messages. They encourage videos of graduates with short messages and recorded speeches by invited speakers which provides students with “a long-term memento.”

The board will allow in-person graduation events including “drive-in” and “drive-through” ceremonies. In both cases, students and their immediate family who are staying at home together should remain in their cars for the entirety of the ceremony.

Other acceptable ceremonies include an individualized ceremony at school where a student walks across the stage in their cap and gown and have their photo taken at a designated time. Restroom access or refreshments will not be available at facilities during ceremonies.

Another example is school officials visit each graduate’s home while remaining outside and at least six feet away to congratulate each graduate.

In all cases, the board’s recommendations include no person-to-person contact during the ceremony and that all people outside of the car wear a face mask or covering.

Read more detailed guidance here.

About the Author

Yvonne Marquez is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].