By HENRY FREDERICK / Headline Surfer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The Volusia County School District is moving ahead with restrictive graduation ceremonies, despite complaints from graduating seniors and their families that limits attendance to only two tickets per graduationg senior with the coronvirus pandemic situation showing no signs of letting up any time soon.
The Florida Health Department announced a record-high 3,207 coronavirus infections Thursday that saw June’s total rise to 29,307. Florida now has has 85,926 COVID-19 cases.
Headline Surfer received an email alert Thursday from the school district's office of community information with a prepared statement on the specifics.
"After considerable discussion and reflection on comments made by parents, graduating seniors, teachers, staff, and community members, the Volusia County School district has decided to move forward with graduation rehearsals and ceremonies at the Daytona Beach Ocean Center, July 6 - 11," Kelly Shulz, director of community information for the school district, said in a prepared statement.
Shulz said the plan could change, based on changing COVID-19 conditions, but that doesn't appear to be realistic given th spike in infections in Florida in the past few weeks since shelter in place restrictions were eased by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
"With more than 4,000 graduates and their families, there is no way to meet every person's desires and expectations for how graduation ceremonies should be conducted," Shulz said in the media release. "What we know is the pandemic upended traditions for the Class of 2020, and we want to honor their request for a traditional graduation. It will not be the same, but under the circumstances, we believe it to be the best option."
"With more than 4,000 graduates and their families, there is no way to meet every person's desires and expectations for how graduation ceremonies should be conducted," Kelly Shulz, the school district's director of community information, said in the media release. "What we know is the pandemic upended traditions for the Class of 2020, and we want to honor their request for a traditional graduation. It will not be the same, but under the circumstances, we believe it to be the best option."
Schulz stressed that "due to CDC social distancing requirements, and the facility capacity outlined by the Ocean Center, tickets will be limited to two per graduate. Each of the graduations will be live-streamed for those who cannot be in attendance. The graduation schedule does allow time for appropriate cleaning between ceremonies. Information regarding additional safety measures at the Ocean Center will be released closer to the graduation dates.
The detailed list of days and times for graduations are on the district's High School Graduation 2020 page and summarized below.Admission will be $3 per person. Parking is $5. Tickets are being sold by each of the high schools. Tickets will not be sold at the door on the days of the graduations.
The live ceremonies can be watched by going to the district website at vcsedu.org. Access to links for the live stream will be made available the week of the graduation ceremonies to all families on social media and on the district website. Should anyone miss the live stream, archived video coverage will be posted on the district website.
About the Byline Writer:
Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet launched 12 years ago that serves greater Daytona Beach, Sanford & Orlando, Florida via HeadlineSurfer.com. Frederick has amassed more than a hundred journalism industry awards in print & online -- more than than all other members of the working press combined in Central Florida since the mid-1990s. He earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in 2019. Having witnessed the execution of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Florida's death chamber and other high profile cases, Frederick has appeared on national crime documentary programs on Discovery ID and Reelz for his investigative reporting and cops & courts breaking news stories.