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TCSS talks graduation plans

The Troup County School System is still planning on having graduate ceremonies in late May, according to Superintendent Brian Shumate.

“Right now, graduations are still scheduled for May 21, 22 and 23,” Shumate said. “We don’t know if the world will lighten up by then. If it doesn’t, we still want to have a celebration.”

Shumate said the school principals want to have regular graduations, even if that means pushing back the dates into June.

“We could do a virtual graduation type thing, but we’re not ready to say we’re going to do that yet,” he said. “Right now, we’re trying to push for in-person graduation.”

Shumate said there are still several factors to figure out due to COVID-19. However, he had a message for outgoing seniors who are dealing with this pandemic.

“We want you to have any experience that seniors should have at this point in their lives. You paid a lot of dues to get here, and it should be a fun time,” he said. “You’re going to be the senior class of 2020 that survived this thing. And it’s not so fun right now, but it may be a story to tell later.”

Shumate said grades are stopped at the most recent nine-week mark on March 12. He said if a student thinks they can still make progress and improve their grade, they should take it to the teachers to come up with a solution.

Assistant Superintendent Penny Johnson said the process for calculating valedictorian and salutatorian would not be affected. The honor is typically based on grades up to the third nine-week period. She said those notifications were expected to be made Tuesday.

Additionally, those students planning to take Advanced Placement tests will be able to do so online from their homes, according to Johnson.

She said College Board, the organization administering the test, decided to allow students to take the exam with their phone, tablet or computer and the students will be given 45 minutes to complete it.

“The exam is open-book (and) open-note, so the questions will be geared toward answers that cannot be easily found using external resources,” Johnson said.

She said the teachers have been in communication with their AP students, and they are aware of the changes made to the format. Students who do not have access to electronic resources will be accommodated.

Johnson said the exams will take place from May 11 through May 22.