The White Hall School District has set the graduation date for White Hall High School for July 18 at Bulldog Stadium. Seniors would've typically walked across the stage to receive their diplomas earlier, but the coronavirus pandemic caused the postponement.
The White Hall School District has set the graduation date for White Hall High School for July 18 at Bulldog Stadium. Seniors would’ve typically walked across the stage to receive their diplomas earlier, but the coronavirus pandemic caused the postponement.
“It’s a tentative date,” said White Hall School District superintendent Doug Dorris. “We kind of have to wait and see what’s going on. But, that’s what our date is set on.”
On April 6, Gov. Asa Hutchinson ordered the closure of schools to aid in the state’s effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Forty-three people have already died in the state due to the virus and more than 2,200 others have tested positive for it, per data from the Arkansas Department of Health.
“The continued spread of COVID-19 throughout the nation does not give me confidence that our educators, parents and most importantly our students would be safe if schools were to resume on-site instruction in April,” Hutchinson said in a press release. “Although on-site instruction has been discontinued until the 2020-2021 school year, it is critical that our students continue to learn at home.”
Dorris insists safety measures will be put in place to protect those attending the summer graduation.
“A lot of this, we’re going to have to play by ear,” he said. “We will have someone there taking everyone’s temperatures and pre-health checks before they come into the stadium. We have talked about the possibility of limiting the number of people, but again a lot of this will come back from what the state says we can and can’t do at that time.”
In addition to graduation, seniors also look forward to another rite-of-passage--- prom. But, the district has canceled the event amid the pandemic.
“As far as prom, I don’t think we can pull that off with the timeframe that’s left and being so confined and everything,” Dorris said.
In a heartfelt message, White Hall High School principal Nathan Sullivan addressed the class of 2020 about their short-lived senior year.
“First, we are sorry that your senior [year] was cut short,” said Sullivan. “You didn’t get to have that true senior year. We feel for you. We know that it is an important part of life for you. We hope that we all come out on the other side of this thankful for what we have and that we learn to value things we took for granted.”
He also noted that he was “honored” to serve as their principal.
“Lastly, encourage your younger classmates to cherish the time they have with friends and teachers and thank you 2020 for all you have given and our sympathy for all you have lost,” he said.
A time for the graduation ceremony has not been scheduled.