ISBE Prohibiting In-Person Graduation Ceremonies “of Any Kind” Ptacek Says JHS Plans on Indefinite Hold

By Jeremy Coumbes on April 30, 2020 at 3:43pm

In-person graduation ceremonies have been prohibited in Illinois.

Illinois State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carmen Ayala announced yesterday in-person graduation ceremonies of any kind are not allowed at this time due to the COVID-19 social distancing measures and corresponding stay at home order.

Ayala said in her weekly message on the Illinois State Board of Education website, the “directive extends to drive-through graduation ceremonies or events where students come in small groups to the school or another location for a photo or to walk across a stage.

Ayala says she has faith in the ability of school districts to honor graduates “through safe, virtual ceremonies and celebrations.

District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek announced late this afternoon that the planned virtual graduation has been delayed indefinetely, following Ayala’s announcement.

Ptacek says the plan created by J.H.S. Principal Andrea Lee and her staff will only allow the graduate and up to 5 family members and a very limited support staff to be in the Bowl at one time.

He says the Morgan County Health Department did not oppose the plan so long as the social distancing, mask requirement and cleaning procedures in the plan were not violated.

Ptacek says he is exploring how to allow the plan to go forward, however he does not know when that will happen.

Ayala also reiterated the announcement that Lieutenant Governor Julianna Stratton is hosting a virtual town hall this evening on Twitter and Facebook @LtGovStratton with youth from across the state, focusing on mental health needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Students and educators are encouraged to join the livestream event from 6-7 p.m. to ask questions and share ideas using the hashtag #LGYOUTH