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School district cancels in-person graduations in Lee County due to COVID-19

Hundreds of Lee County seniors part of the high school Class of 2020 must face the fact they won’t walk across the stage with their friends this summer.

The School District of Lee County confirms it has canceled all in-person graduations Wednesday due to the continued rise in coronavirus cases in the region and state.

In a statement, the District said, “It is with great disappointment that we announce the cancellation of our in-person graduations.”

The District says it made the decision collectively with Florida Department of Health in Lee County and Hertz Arena.

“This is an incredibly hard decision,” the District statement said. “But, following the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in our community and the health risk associated with large events, we believe this is in the best interest of our graduates and families.”

Senior Reece Hall spoke to us back in April. She was upset when, during that time, the District said it would plan to host virtual graduation ceremonies, hoping for more. She became excited when the District said it was going to host in-person ceremonies during summertime. But, with the announcement of cancellation, Hall said there was more of an expectation at this time.

“I personally would not have been comfortable attending the graduation as it’s planned. So it getting canceled was less of a shock and more of a like, ‘It’s about time,'” Hall said. “As students, we all kind of knew that like the way they were planning to have it was going to be impossible, especially like as the cases are going up every day.”

The District says it’s working to develop drive-through ceremonies at its high schools, where Class of 2020 students can wear their caps and gowns and pick up their diplomas.

The details and schedule for those future events are still being worked on.

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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