Here are the top 2 things you need to know from this message:
2020-21 School Year Now Begins August 17, 2020
As you may know, last week Governor Roy Cooper signed into law Senate Bill 704 that affects school calendars across North Carolina as well as the school calendar previously approved by the Catawba County Schools Board of Education. SECTION 2.11.(b)(2) of NC Senate Bill 704 mandates that all North Carolina public schools following a traditional calendar (like we do) must start a week earlier on August 17, 2020, for the 2020-2021 school year. The law also states that the school year must end by June 11, 2021, and must also include five remote learning days. Our Board of Education will be working on adopting a new calendar in the coming weeks, but we wanted to let everyone know as soon as possible so you can plan for this state-mandated earlier start date.
Graduation Plans for High School Seniors
We are excited and proud to announce plans for graduation ceremonies for all of our high schools. Our principals and district leadership have worked hard with our graduating seniors and their parents to make sure that our seniors get the recognition they deserve despite the restrictions caused by the global pandemic. Each school surveyed seniors and their parents to determine what type of ceremony they preferred. Overwhelmingly, our students and parents chose a delayed in-person graduation ceremony on their own campus, over a virtual ceremony, or multiple smaller ceremonies held now.
Bandys, Bunker Hill, Fred T. Foard, and Maiden High School will all hold traditional ceremonies outdoors in late July and early August, providing that the state guidance doesn’t change by then. We have provided opportunities for an earlier graduation ceremony for students who have special circumstances that require them to graduate on their original date like our students who are pursuing a military career. You can find all the details in the chart at the end of this message.
Challenger Early College High School graduating seniors will participate in the CVCC graduation on the morning of August 1, then their high school graduation in the afternoon, again providing that the guidance has not changed.
St. Stephens High School will hold a modified graduation ceremony on May 29 and May 30 because their school will be under construction later this summer. They will hold 5 separate graduations of approximately 50 students each. Students will be spaced 10’ apart on the football field and families will be asked to be socially distanced in the stadium.
Catawba Rosenwald Education Center will be graduating nine seniors this year. Since their group is small enough to abide by current health guidelines, they will hold their graduation at CVCC on May 29.
We have been working closely with the Catawba County Department of Health to ensure that our plans adhere to all the current pandemic guidelines. All of our schools will work closely with local law enforcement and staff to ensure that students and families abide by the state and local guidelines to keep everyone healthy.
We are excited that we have plans in place to honor our graduates and congratulate them properly for their persistence and hard work meeting this major life milestone. We hope that the guidance doesn’t change later this summer, but if it does, we will ensure that we continue to work with the health department, principals, students, and parents to provide the best celebration that we can under the circumstances.