In addition to uncertainty over how public schools will operate statewide when students return next month, graduation ceremony plans for the Wilkes County high school class of 2020 remain undetermined.

Wilkes School Superintendent Mark Byrd said in mid-May that formal graduation events would be delayed until the weekend of July 17-18, with a goal of having more traditional ceremonies then. He said this decision resulted from survey responses of Wilkes high school class of 2020 members, but noted that plans were subject to Gov. Roy Cooper’s orders and COVID-19 pandemic conditions.

An announcement posted Thursday on the Wilkes Schools website said Wilkes school officials were having to “re-visit tentative graduation dates and plans” due to Cooper’s June 24 decision to extend phase two of “reopening” North Carolina until July 17. Cooper extended phase two due to COVID-19 metrics not improving.

The announcement said Cooper’s decision “will not allow for graduations to take place on July 17 or 18. Once we learn more about options in phase three, we will keep you informed via our district and high school websites and social media.”

Among other things, remaining in phase two means most mass gatherings are still limited to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors.

Early last week, Byrd told the Wilkes Journal-Patriot that a press release with class of 2020 graduation plans was being prepared and that he hoped to send it the first of this week.

He said Tuesday, “I am still awaiting some clarity from the governor’s office before we move forward. I anticipate answers pretty soon.”

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