Toronto schools to hold virtual graduations despite Ford’s outdoor grad suggestion

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Toronto schools will go ahead with virtual graduations this month despite the premier’s plan to have outdoor celebrations for all students in a matter of weeks.

The Toronto District School Board and its Catholic counterpart say the decision follows guidance from the city’s public health unit to focus on virtual graduation celebrations.

In separate letters to parents, the boards note Ontario’s current limits on outdoor gatherings and uncertainty surrounding reopening plans.

The Toronto District School Board says it had already spent months planning virtual graduations and costs have already been incurred.

However, both school boards say they are exploring ways to celebrate the end of the academic year with students.

Premier Doug Ford encouraged schools to hold outdoor grad ceremonies for all grades — not just grades 8 and 12 — as he announced Wednesday that classes would not resume in person until September due to COVID-19.

On Thursday, the Ontario Principals’ Council said the suggestion was unrealistic and disrespectful to teachers expected to change plans at this point in the school year.