By Ruben Lowman
In-person graduations will now be held for seniors at high schools throughout the district, as voted on this week by the Horry County School Board.
There is flexibility for high school principals in the county to decide the specifics of their graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020, such as whether to hold it inside or outside, and whether to honor all students at one time or divided into smaller groups.
“Tonight, the board voted to have in-person graduation ceremonies for the high schools and the program schools, leaving a lot of planning and logistics to the principals because they know their schools best,” said Horry County Schools spokesperson, Lisa Bourcier. “And they know the limitations they have best to have the ceremonies.”
The vote comes after weeks of debate by the school board centered on how best to safely hold the ceremonies, while also giving graduating students an experience they will remember fondly.
Horry County Schools had previously announced they would be holding virtual graduations for high school seniors, until a wave of negative feedback from parents and students forced them to walk back that idea.
HCS has since spent the past few weeks deliberating the options they can choose from. Discussions last week revolved around holding all the ceremonies either inside the Myrtle Beach Convention Center or outside in their schools’ football field.
The school board decided on Monday to vote in favor of allowing each principal in the district flexibility to conduct their own graduation and continue the traditions their individual schools have in place.
Several different graduation options were considered at the board meeting that would both adhere to the governor’s social distancing restrictions and permit students to be honored in front of their loved ones.
The options ranged from having an individualized ceremony for every student to holding the ceremonies for the entire senior class. Ultimately, the school board felt that the differences in the area’s high schools were pronounced enough that making a universal decision for the county was not considered the wisest choice.
Additionally, Bourcier said that the amount of guests allowed to attend each graduation would depend on the size of the class and the location of the ceremony.
The district noted that attending the ceremonies is voluntary for all faculty, students and parents, and anyone who feels uncomfortable does not have to attend.