Uncertainty over Windsor-Essex outdoor grad ceremonies despite provincial approval

Many Windsor-Essex students thought they were going to get outdoor graduation ceremonies this June after the provincial government gave the green light, but that might not be the case after all.

Holy Names Grade 12 student Isaac Czudner says his school is planning on a drive-through option.

“So we don’t know a tonne unfortunately, we think we’re having some kind of outdoor event,” says Czudner. “Time is limited unfortunately, so each student only gets to have a few minutes with the principal.”

Czudner says any type of in-person event would mean a lot him and his family.

“Anything is appreciated by students, if it’s five minutes or 30 minutes, we’ll take it,” says Czudner.

The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board said Monday a final decision has not been made on grad ceremonies.

At the Greater Essex County District School Board, plans are also moving forward with virtual and drive-through ceremonies.

“We want them to have that personal ability to connect with their students, so it will look like something more intimate like a drive-through and socially distanced phot with their principal,” says GECDB chairperson Alicia Higgison.

She is also a parent of a graduating Grade 8 student.

“It’s not I wanted to have for my own graduate wither, but we are obligated to keep everyone safe and I am glad that she’s going to be able to go and say thank you and goodbye,” said Higgison.

A small victory for Anoosha Keshav, the organizer of a petition with over 17,000 signatures for Ontario outdoor grad ceremonies, but she says it’s not enough.

“There was a lot of people that didn’t think Doug Ford would approve this, we made it this far so we can keep going the rest of the way,” says Keshav.

She is telling Windsor-Essex students to keep pushing for in-person ceremonies.

“Make a proposal, make a video, do something about it and don’t stop fighting,” says Keshav.

Czudner says it might be too late for this year’s grads, but hope is on the horizon.

“Hopefully next year’s Grade 12s are going to have a better situation than us,” says Czudner.