LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Due to the issue of large public gatherings and COVID-19 spread, Governor Asa Hutchinson, along with the Department of Education, announced there will not be any traditional high school graduations in Arkansas until after July 1st.
Governor Hutchinson and Education Commissioner Johnny Key acknowledged thousand of families gather for the event. It brings people from across the state, and across the country, together. Governor Hutchinson says there is a risk of coronavirus spread when so many people are in close contact.
As for the July 1st date, Hutchinson says they will reevaluate if schools can proceed forward with a traditional graduation.
Commissioner Key says if schools can’t wait that long, they can hold non-traditional graduations.
He says starting next week, Arkansas school districts can propose non-traditional graduation celebration ideas to the Department of Education to evaluate.
“This provides certainty. It may be a disappointment. It is a disappointment. But one thing that having this date does is it provides certainty for schools to know that there is a time in the future we can look forward to, but in the meantime, there are other options if they want to proceed with those,” Education Commissioner Johnny Key said.
Regarding the July 1st deadline, Key says the Department of Education will work with the Health Department looking at the public health data to decide if schools can have traditional graduations after that.