In true Atlanta Public Schools fashion, senior students will go out with a bang with virtual graduation in May and later summer graduation in the summer- or later. After surveying 1,650 APS seniors across all 14 high schools, an overwhelming percentage expressed interest for a delayed open-air (78%) or fall (71%) ceremony while fewer did so for a virtual ceremony from home (19%) or the Starlight Drive-In (27%) in May.
Seniors originated #WorthTheWait, emphasizing their desires to walk on stage in their caps and gowns, even if delayed.
As part of the proposal, APS will:
- Conduct a virtual celebration during the regular graduation season between May 18 and 21 and plan for a traditional graduation program for each school when State and Department of Health guidelines allow.
- Work with schools to coordinate creative efforts for families to engage in at their homes and with their loved ones before and during the ceremony.
- Coordinate diploma delivery in May through mail or some other safe distribution method.
For the dates in late July, the proposal will be to use Lakewood and Grady stadiums as possible venues. However, if ceremonies must be delayed further, the district is considering other venues or ticketed ceremonies at each school, possibly scheduling them during the Thanksgiving or winter breaks to maximize attendance of graduates and their families.
Atlanta Public Schools is joining other districts like Carrollton City Schools, Forsyth Schools who are hopeful to have a late summer/early fall graduation after the COVID-19 pandemic is hopefully over.