By Per Peterson
They will graduate this spring — it’s just not known when, or how, members of the Tracy Area High School Class of 2020 will celebrate.
The results of a second survey that was sent to parents of seniors showed that 55% favor a June 21 date, while 45% want to keep commencement exercises on its normal May 24 date. The latter would mean the only option would be a parade for the seniors that ends at the high school. The June 21 option would theoretically buy some time to perhaps have commencement exercises in the gym.
TAHS Supt. Chad Anderson said the ultimate decision won’t come until later this week, however, after he gathers more information from the state’s education commissioner.
“We want to do everything we can to provide our seniors the most traditional way possible,” Anderson said. “Maybe that’s outside at the football stadium where the kids can sit in the bleachers, walk in together, and the parents can sit on the field. I want to make sure I’m doing everything I can and do it in a timely way to give kids something they deserve and that respects what graduation is all about.”
The survey’s options were two-fold: 1. Hold graduation on May 24, with a parade that forms at Central Park and ends at the high school, with commencement exercises in the parking lot (or possibly on the football field); 2. Hold graduation in the gym on June 21 if social distancing rules are lifted; if stay at home orders are still in place, the parade plan would be put into action.
Survey results notwithstanding, Anderson feels it’s better to be safe than sorry and to not make a decision right now to delay graduation based solely on the hopes that current social distancing guidelines will be eased enough to have a traditional ceremony in the gym.
“If we push things back and there’s nothing different that could be done in June than in May, what’s the purpose of pushing it back?” he said.
Last Friday, a Distance Learning Survey was sent out to parents of students in the school district. The survey asked questions ranging from reliability of the technology they use at home, how many hours their child spends on homework on an average day and what kind of communication did their child receive from the school or teacher in a given week.
Respondents, who remained anonymous, were also given the option of sharing any positives or possible areas of improvement conquering distance learning.