No caps will be tossed into the air this June to mark the end of high school for Grade 12 students.
School District 8 has cancelled all graduation celebrations after provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said Saturday large gatherings will not be held in the summer.
Superintendent Christine Perkins said the events are too difficult to co-ordinate with physical distancing measures in place.
“Honestly it is devastating,” said Perkins, “because lots of [students] have already invited family and family won’t be able to get here because of flights and things like that. Others have bought their suits and dresses and that’s upsetting too.”
Perkins said she plans to speak with principals about alternative digital solutions so students can still mark the occasion.
“I think people are going to be very creative about what they can do to support the grads and make the year special for them.”
Meanwhile, the district is focusing on making sure students eligible to graduate make it to the finish line.
Perkins said students needing assistance are being invited back to their schools for one-on-one consultations. The education ministry has also said students are expected to complete course work remotely, and that teachers will hand out final grades for the year.
“This does not mean students will graduate no matter what,” the ministry stated in a release Friday.
As for students considering their post-secondary options, Perkins said scholarships are still being made available and the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer is providing information about requirements for individual institutions at bccat.ca.
“Every single post-secondary institute around the world understands this is not normal for our Grade 12s,” said Perkins. “So they are taking a flexible approach to admissions.”
The district has also broadened its program offering on-site education for the children of essential services workers.
Perkins said every elementary school in the district is now available for kindergarten to Grade 6 students, who will have access to instructors, recreation and lunch.
The program began this month for health care employees, but Perkins said it has now been expanded to include children of firefighters, police officers, grocery store workers, truck drivers, utilities workers and teachers.
Parents interested in learning more, she said, should contact their school’s principal.