DALLAS AND FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Both Dallas ISD and Fort Worth ISD announced Wednesday their districts will hold this year’s commencement ceremonies virtually in order to protect everyone from COVID-19.

Dallas ISD’s commencement ceremonies will begin May 22.

Fort Worth ISD’s will take place over a “period of several days in June.”

Efforts will be made to maintain as much of the traditional ceremony as possible, Dallas ISD said in a news release.

In addition, all 8,900 seniors will receive customized banners to display at home that recognize them as members of their high school’s Class of 2020.

As a special way to show support of this year’s senior class, Dallas ISD invites the community to step outside their residence from 7 to 7:10 p.m. on Thursday, May 21, and recognize all senior students during a districtwide ovation.

Students and families will receive details regarding virtual graduation information for each campus, along with how to retrieve their gap and gown. Students should expect to receive a notification from their principal by next week.

In total, Dallas ISD will hold 37 commencement ceremonies beginning May 22 to May 31.

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In Fort Worth ISD, nearly 5,000 seniors will participate in “virtual” graduations this spring as a result of the continued threat of COVID-19.

However, the district said it plans to do everything possible to make this life event special for the Class of 2020 from all 21 campuses and their families.

In March, Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent P. Scribner announced that schools will remain closed and students will remain at home until further notice. Governor Greg Abbott has since issued a directive that all schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.

“We made the decision that all schools will remain closed until we can safely bring students back to buildings,” said Dr. Scribner. “We believe this decision to hold virtual graduation ceremonies is in the best interest of our students, their families and our many employees who each year participate in commencement ceremonies.

“It is profoundly disappointing that our seniors will not have the opportunity to celebrate their hard-earned success in person with their peers, their parents, and their teachers, but it is the right thing to do for everyone concerned.”

The virtual graduation will use technology to allow students to share photos of themselves in cap and gown – as well a personalized message as they “move the tassel” to indicate their status as newly-minted graduates.

A link to a special online platform will enable family and friends to participate from any location.

Graduating seniors will receive individual notices from their schools telling them when they can pick up their caps and gowns and other commencement regalia.

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