Unique commencement ceremony set for Middlesboro Class of 2020 

Published 3:17 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Middlesboro High School has announced its plans to host a very unique commencement ceremony to honor the Class of 2020.

With schools closed for in-person instruction in the commonwealth of Kentucky for the remainder of the school year, teachers are continuing instruction through non-traditional learning in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. School districts across the state are left with making the decision on how to hold graduation ceremonies to honor their 2020 seniors.

The Kentucky Department of Education’s Education Continuation Task Force has held virtual meetings to discuss graduation options. The federal government has released a three-phase plan that gives guidance to states on criteria to meet before the reopening process begins.

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Kentucky has not entered the first phase, but Gov. Andy Beshear has said he hopes that process will begin in early May.

According to Interim Education Commissioner Kevin Brown, Kentucky may not be past the first phase by late summer, which would still limit public gatherings to 10 people.

The Department of Education said that even if Kentucky were to enter phase two by early fall, it would still limit crowds to less than 50 people, and those who attend in-person ceremonies would need to wear gloves and masks.

Middlesboro High School seniors will graduate in Fuson Gymnasium at an individually scheduled time through the week of May 11 through 15. The school will be creating a video with all the graduating seniors receiving their diploma, moving their tassel, and tossing their cap.

“However, we are required to follow specific guidelines and CDC protocols to keep everyone safe as we celebrate our seniors,” the announcement said.

Starting May 11, the school will film individual seniors and their families at Middlesboro High School Fuson Brothers Gymnasium that will include graduation speeches at their assigned time and the video sessions will conclude on May 15. The final video will be shared with all families of the Class of 2020.

Seniors will receive more detailed information and graduation video appointment times throughout the week.

Commissioner Brown explained that at some point an in-person ceremony would be ideal, even if it were in fall, but that districts need to take advantage of virtual recognitions.

MHS is also recognizing seniors with a new feature on their Facebook page.

“Mrs. Goodman has created seniors pages that we will share each day,” the school posted on their Facebook page. “We greatly appreciate her for bringing this to you because we love our seniors.”