TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Baltimore County Public Schools have canceled all proms and senior activities amid the coronavirus pandemic and announced that graduation could be impacted as well.
The announcement was made Friday night and both students and parents say it’s “extremely disappointing.”
One parent, who spoke to WJZ under anonymity, said she’s upset for her daughter and mad about Baltimore County Public Schools has handled it.
“I get it. I know there are bigger things in the world,” she said, “but how BCPS did it wasn’t the greatest.”
The mother said the schools have yet to officially announce that they are moving to online learning for the rest of the year, but have already canceled end of the year events, frustrating parents who aren’t getting clear answers on other things like grading.
She said she’s email administrators and hasn’t heard anything back.
If the schools can find a safe way to distribute meals to students, they should be able to find a way to distribute the caps and gowns already paid for, as well as the awards and diploma, the mother said.
She said her daughter was so excited to graduate and was among some of the top students in her class.
“Something everyone takes for granted, they won’t have,” she added.
Her daughter said she’s more upset about graduation being virtual then prom, although all of it is upsetting.
“I’m more upset about graduation, that I’m not going to be able to walk across the stage,” the senior said. “I’m so mad that all this hard work was for nothing.”
She and her classmates have also not gotten clear answers about how the grading will work. School administrators announced Thursday they would be moving to a pass/fail system for the last two semesters of school. However, how that will affect their overall grades for the year hasn’t been clarified.
The senior said she’d rather have her final year grade be based on her first two semesters.
What’s unique about the Class of 2020 is that most were born just after 9/11. They started their lives at a chaotic time in the country and now their senior years of high school are ending amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s disappointing,” she said. “You just want to be with your friends for the last time before you go off to college.”
In a statement issued to the 2020 graduating class Friday night, Superintendent Darryl L. Williams said:
“These past few weeks, I have been thinking about you, and I know you did not anticipate that your
senior year would include a Stay at Home executive order by our governor effective March 30. As a
father of a graduating senior in high school and a graduating senior in college, this order and coronavirus
have impacted my family as well.
Just like you and your family, I, too, was looking forward to those culminating events, but due to the
health crisis, all proms and senior activities are cancelled. Members of our school Board, your principals,
and I share your disappointment about losing these special events, but we must abide by these
executive orders by our governor.
As we continue to monitor this pandemic and abide by the Baltimore County Health Department’s
guidelines, our currently scheduled graduation ceremonies may also be impacted. We will continue to
work with our school leadership regarding possible alternatives including virtual graduations, but no
final decision has been made at this time.
We recognize that your senior year is a milestone in your educational journey and you worked hard to
achieve this senior status. As I shared in an earlier correspondence, our continuity of learning plan
cannot replace daily interactions with students and teachers; however, we will continue to work with
our state superintendent to address these graduation requirements and request waivers and supports
for our seniors. As you know, in order to receive a Maryland diploma, students must fulfill requirements
including assessments and service learning hours. As soon as decisions have been made, we will work
with your school principals and continue to provide updates.
I recognize that you may be experiencing many emotions with these changes and uncertainties. Please
continue to express yourself with a family member and a trusted loved one. As I mentioned on my first
day, my goal is for every student to have at least one adult whom they can trust, and that adult may still
be available through email and will probably want to hear from you. If you are worried about a friend or
classmate, please notify your teacher, school counselor, or administrator.
Your teachers, administrators, and staff members are working hard to support you during this
challenging time, and we are here to support you during these final months of your senior year. Please
be safe and continue to stay engaged in learning with your teachers and classmates. We all will get
through this together. “
On Thursday, County Executive Johnny Olszewski held a virtual town hall to answer questions from the community about the county’s COVID-19 response. That’s where it was announced that proms were likely canceled.
The county schools are also moving to pass/fail grading.
- Baltimore County Schools Move To Pass/Fail Grading
- Coronavirus Resources: How To Get Help
- What We Know About Coronavirus In Maryland
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.@BCPS_Sup has posted a message for the Class of 2020. All BCPS proms and senior activities are cancelled. We are all so disappointed. Our current graduation schedule may also be impacted. No decision yet.https://t.co/T4bHqvtGvX pic.twitter.com/UV2ZyHAb5M
— Baltimore County Public Schools (@BaltCoPS) April 4, 2020