St. Charles District 303 reserves alternate graduation date in July
In anticipation of spring graduation ceremonies being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, St. Charles Unit District 303 has secured an alternative date in July to honor its high school seniors.
All signs point to a ban on large-scale events remaining in effect beyond Thursday, May 21, when the Class of 2020 is scheduled to graduate at Northern Illinois University's Convocation Center, Superintendent Jason Pearson told the school board Monday.
As a backup plan, the district reserved the venue for Saturday, July 25, with 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. ceremony time slots.
"We felt it was important to go ahead and find a tentative date and time, as the facility fills up very quickly," Pearson said, noting other school districts have been securing dates around the same time. "I wanted to make sure we were able to have something."
A survey has been sent to District 303 students and families seeking feedback on alternate graduation options, he said. Those results will be evaluated before a final decision is made.
The COVID-19 outbreak also has prompted the cancellation of prom for St. Charles North and East high schools, Pearson said.
Both events were scheduled for May 2, just days after Gov. J.B. Pritzker's current stay-at-home order is set to expire April 30. With all the time and money spent on the festivities, he said, the district didn't want to take any chances.
St. Charles East was expected to host its prom at the Hilton Oak Brook Hills Resort, while St. Charles North's was planned for the Q Center. The venues have agreed to cancel this year's contract and give the respective schools credit toward a future event without losing their deposits, Pearson said.
The district is expected to begin evaluating other year-end activities to celebrate and recognize students, he said.
"That's something the schools and students will be talking more about to see if there are ways we will be able to celebrate this milestone in their educational experiences, even though we have the current stay-at-home situation," he said.