DAVISON — Superintendent Kevin Brown said a survey of parents and high school seniors has shown the majority would prefer the district wait to hold a Class of 2020 commencement ceremony until it can be held in a more traditional setting.
Brown said the district was considering alternatives to the traditional cap and gown ceremony due to the coronavirus outbreak, including holding a virtual ceremony at the U.S. 23 Drive In, like what Grand Blanc High School is doing.
But 60 percent of parents and 72 percent of Davison High School seniors said they’d rather wait until it’s safe to hold a more traditional commencement, possibly in an outdoor venue like Cardinal Stadium.
“We want to be open and listen to the wants and desires of the community,” said Brown in his latest podcast. “So, we will not schedule a virtual graduation at U.S. 23 Drive-In. Instead, it will possibly be at Cardinal Stadium.”
Brown said the district has reserved June 29 and July 13 as possible dates for the event, but he said they might add a date in August as well, just in case the earlier dates don’t work.
Many parents and students are concerned about the date extending into August because many of the graduates will be heading off to college at that time.
Brown said he will likely send another survey to parents to gather more information. He said an outdoor venue would still likely mean limiting the number of friends and family members attending and would require some level of social distancing.
“These young adults have missed out on a lot of things that are considered rites of passage and our hearts ache for these kids,” said Brown. “But they are strong, they’re Davison made, they will be OK. We’re just very, very happy for them and want to offer them a congratulations.”
The district is also looking into what next school year may look like, but Brown said that will depend entirely on what the state decides to do. If the governor keeps schools closed in the fall, he said it could mean Distance Learning will be in place.
It is also possible, he said, school will reopen with social distance guidelines in place through the state. But currently, no one knows what will happen when the 2020-21 school year begins.
“For fall of next (school) year we’re already getting questions about August,” said Brown. “There are rumors the sports seasons will be cancelled, that school will not continue in the fall – all of those things are a possibility, I just don’t know. I’ve had to say that a lot lately when asked some of the questions out there. Frankly, I just don’t know. We’re all trying to figure this out.”
Brown added, “If it’s up to me, we’re coming back to school in mid-August and we’re running school like we always have. But we also need to know we have options available, so we’re working on some of those options.”
The district’s distance learning program has been helpful, he said but it is not the same as traditional education.
“Just like with graduation, we’re keeping our options open. We’re looking at a lot of different possibilities,” said Brown in his podcast. “We will communicate those things to you as soon as we have some answers. But as of right now we don’t know what fall is going to look like.”
He anticipates sending out more surveys to gauge what parents would prefer as next school year approaches.
“We’ll take a wait and see approach,” he said.
Brown said the district will send out a survey or two to see who wants to come back for face-to-face instruction and who wants online learning or a combination of both.