Graduation amid coronavirus: People unhappy about virtual ceremonies

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Like so many other young men and women around the country, Arizona high school students are facing the reality of having virtual graduation ceremonies this year in light of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Highland High School senior Keiv Soliman spoke out against his school's plan to set up a virtual event, where students can be filmed walking across a stage to accept their diplomas, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

The school's principal will reportedly read off students' names from a separate room, while video editors use “holographic technology,” to make it appear as if everyone is together in the same place.

Soliman’s fellow students, however, don't want such a celebration and are still hoping for the real thing, according to the Dispatch.

“You can’t really replace the real thing with anything but the real thing,” Soliman said.

He also started a petition on Change.org asking for an in-person ceremony that still observes the practices of social distancing.

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There has been division in recent weeks between the federal government and certain states about when lockdown orders should end. Arizona's stay-at-home order expired Friday.

Chandler Unified, the second-largest school district in the state, told families on May 5 that they're still trying to organize a ceremony “while still adhering to the recommended CDC guidelines," The Dispatch reported.

This isn't the only effort by high school administrations to adjust to the new normal. Fraser High School in Michigan will be organizing a June 6 drive-thru graduation using the football field, according to Fox 2.

Superintendent Carrie Wozniak said the staff has been planning the event for weeks.

"It's a great group of kids and they deserve to have their work and their academic achievements celebrated and I don't think there's any better place than on our football field," Wozniak said.

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In Greenville, South Carolina, county schools announced that in-person graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020 will be held at Bon Secours Wellness Arena, Fox Carolina reported.

The ceremonies will be held between May 27-June 4, excluding Sunday, May 31. Each graduate will be allowed a maximum of two guests.

As of Friday afternoon, there were over 1.4 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. and over 87,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.