Hernando County school officials cancel traditional graduation ceremonies

In April, Hernando County high school seniors were told they will have an in-person graduation ceremony, but due to the spike in COVID-19 cases, officials said they are going with the back-up option: a virtual commencement ceremony.

On Wednesday, Superintendent John Stratton announced the changes. The traditional ceremonies were originally scheduled for the end of July and beginning of August.

"We originally postponed graduation ceremonies with the hope that the situation would improve," Stratton said in a letter to families. "Unfortunately, that is not the case at this time. We regret we have had to make this decision."

Earlier in the summer, school district leaders did say a virtual graduation ceremony will be an alternative, if needed. Now, that appears to be the case.

Graduates can pick up their high school diplomas, report cards and programs at their high school on July 21 between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. When arriving at the school, officials ask that you remain in your car and school staff will give additional directions.

"I share your disappointment, but we have to do what we feel is in the best interest of all of our students, staff and community," Stratton's letter said in part. "I want to take this final opportunity to congratulate our graduates and to wish each of you continued success and happiness. Well done!"

Each high school's virtual ceremony will be viewable and downloadable from the school and school district's website. They will remain accessible through August 30.

The date and times are below:
Hernando High: Saturday, August 1 at 10 a.m.
Central High: Friday, July 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Springstead High: Thursday, July 30 at 8 p.m.
Nature Coast Technical High: Wednesday, July 29 at 8 p.m.
Weeki Wachee High: Saturday, August 1 at 3 p.m.