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CMS to have in-person graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2021, but there’s a catch

Devna Bose
·1 min read

The Class of 2021 will have in-person graduation ceremonies this spring, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said Tuesday, but the pandemic means there will be limits to how many guests can attend.

Each graduate will be limited to two guests due to COVID-19 safety protocols, but all of the ceremonies will be livestreamed for those who do not attend the in-person ceremony. School staff will also be limited at the ceremonies with the number depending on venue.

The ceremonies will take place at Bojangles Coliseum, Ovens Auditorium and the Charlotte Convention Center, the district announced in a statement Tuesday.

“Graduation is a time-honored tradition and we are looking forward to providing in-person celebrations for our graduates,” Superintendent Earnest Winston said in the statement. “The 2021 Graduation Committee carefully considered health and safety as they explored the best ways for our students and families to celebrate this important occasion.”

Ceremonies will begin May 24 and continue until June 5. A full list of graduation dates, times and locations can be found here.

All graduating seniors, regardless of attendance, will have their name announced during their school’s ceremony. Some high schools will plan separate celebrations in addition to the in-person graduations.

“I’ve been talking with students, and they have been flooding my (direct messages) with (questions about) in-person prom, in-person graduation,” board student representative and CMS senior Breana Fowler said at Tuesday night’s board meeting. “A lot of students will be happy hearing they will have an in-person graduation.”

Each year, the district has about 10,000 graduating students. Last year, CMS hosted virtual, pre-recorded graduations in addition to drive-through ceremonies for seniors to pick up their diplomas.