(Grad class of 2019 / Belmont Senior Secondary School)

Graduating students in the Sooke School District may get to cross the stage in cap and gown to receive their diplomas this year after all.

In a video posted to District 62’s Twitter on Wednesday, Superintendent Scott Stinson announced that along with an online ceremony for 2020 graduating students, they will also be offered the option of attending an in-person ceremony.

“We’ll be organizing this in small groups so that students will be able to participate and engage in this crossing of the stage as an important part of your graduation,” Stinson said in the video.

“This will allow you to dress in your cap and gown and formal attire underneath if that’s what you choose.”

Though students will be encouraged to attend the in-person ceremonies, Stinson does note that families will not be allowed to attend.

He goes on to add that there will be a professional photographer on site to capture the memories for families.

Recently, graduating high school students in School District 62 petitioned against the idea to hold a virtual graduation ceremony for the class of 2020 because of COVID-19 concerns.

A petition with more than 4,500 signatures on Change.org called on the district to reconsider their decision to move to an online-only ceremony model.

“We understand that due to the circumstances of COVID-19 that we will not be able to have our grad ceremony by the end of June, but instead of prolonging it SD62 has decided to cancel it completely and instead give us an online version of a graduation ceremony,” the petition read.

The petition argued that “an ‘online graduation’ is simply not good enough and should be rethought”.

Superintendent Stinson did not address the petition in School District 62’s video, but did state, “we’ve heard your concerns”.

School District 62 includes Sooke, Port Renfrew, Metchosin, Colwood and Langford.