State: School districts should consider alternatives to in-person graduation ceremonies

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The state also says students unable to complete coursework because of the shutdown could still graduate.

The Nevada Department of Education told the Washoe County School District and the state’s 16 other school districts to think about alternatives to in-person graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020

The message was part of a nine-page memo sent to districts on Friday by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert as schools across Nevada remain shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The state told districts “to consider alternatives to in-person graduation ceremonies in the event the COVID-19 crisis has not ended by the conclusion of the school year.”

The Washoe County School District has previously said no decisions have been made on graduation ceremonies, which are scheduled for June 10-13. 

Completing coursework 

The memo also addresses the extraordinary times facing the class of 2020 and outlines what happens now in getting students across the finish line. 

The memo says that administrators can use discretion in determining if and how coursework is completed. That means districts have also been given freedom to graduate students who may not complete school work as part of distance learning plans. 

Teachers are also now allowed to accept portfolios, projects and oral presentations for credit.

Students could graduate, “if they were on the path toward graduation prior to the emergency closure of school buildings,” according to the state.

Students on track to graduate before schools were closed would likely still graduate, including those who are unable to complete classes because of the COVID-19 shutdown, said Greg Bortolin, spokesperson for the Nevada Department of Education.

The Washoe County School District has not immediately responded to a request for comment about the state’s new guidance.

Siobhan McAndrew tells stories about the people of Northern Nevada and covers education in Washoe County. Read her journalism right here. Consider supporting her work by subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal

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