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ADSB note to Class of 2020 grads; ‘do not focus on what isn’t happening’

No high school grad ceremony due to COVID-19; public school board discussing ideas for ‘virtual or some other kind of recognition’ for graduates
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Algoma District School Board. Darren Taylor/SooToday

The following message from Lucia Reece, Algoma District School Board (ADSB) director of education, has been posted on the board’s website;

Dear ADSB Graduates and Families, 

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered our lives in many ways. With the closure of all publicly funded schools in Ontario until the end of June 2020, we have had to evaluate the circumstances and make some decisions on operational items, including elementary and secondary graduation activities. While we had hoped it might be possible for proms, graduation ceremonies and other related events to go forward in some way in June, the extended school closure and the reality that physical distancing and crowd limits will continue into the foreseeable future, it is necessary that we advise that no face-to-face events are possible and that alternate recognitions and celebrations are necessary. 

We have discussed, with our school administrators, ideas about how virtual or some other kind of recognition can occur. Ideas will be shared with students and families so that a plan can be developed to recognize and celebrate graduates, as we continue to consult with our three District Public Health Units to ensure we maintain the necessary health and safety measures. Please note that all available awards and/or scholarships will still be awarded to students. 

Graduates, I want to recognize your remarkable character, hard work and resilience during this unprecedented time. The move to remote learning has been an adjustment for all involved, yet you have persevered through this challenging time, demonstrating what true “confident learners and caring citizens” you are! Your efforts and your family’s support cannot be understated – it is a testament to the wonderful students and families we have across the Algoma district. Please know how proud our staff and our administration are of your strength of character and your accomplishments -- and please continue to persevere. 

While this may not be the news and end of year celebration you had hoped to have, I trust you understand we must ensure the health and safety of our students, families and staff. Graduates, do not focus on what isn’t happening, but rather focus on what lies ahead. I leave you with the words of Bob Riley who said, “Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during hard times when the ‘hero’ within us is revealed.” You, graduates, are not only the graduating class of 2020, you are the 2020 Pandemic Graduate Heroes! 

Please stay healthy and safe, 
Lucia Reece 
Director of Education