Farmington Schools pursues in-person graduation, prom

While Farmington Public Schools seniors may not have a typical prom or graduation ceremony, district officials hope to provide in-person experiences for the class of 2020.

A team of teachers, counselors, administrators, students, and parents have been working on end-of-year activities, since the COVID-19 crisis led to an early closure of all Michigan school buildings.

A Friday afternoon message signed by Superintendent Dr. Bob Herrera, Farmington High Principal Tom Shelton, North Farmington Principal Joe Greene, and Farmington Central Principal David Reese indicated that students, families, and staff said in surveys that they would prefer “real” events.

“Our challenge,” the message explained, “is to consider what we know our students want and deserve, as well as working with an uncertain forecast of what we will be able to do, and when we will be able to do it.”

August dates

“Based on feedback from the surveys conducted, in conjunction with input and feedback from members of the committee, it was overwhelmingly evident that all stakeholders would like an in-person graduation, even if it was with modified attendance.”

The district is working with the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Farmington’s traditional graduation venue, to reserve the first two Sundays in August, but the venue won’t confirm dates until the “Stay Home. Stay Safe.” order is lifted.

If the arena isn’t available, the committee will look at a modified event, possibly at a school stadium, or a virtual ceremony. Farmington Central’s ceremony, potentially held at the North Farmington High auditorium, may be split in two groups.

Surveys also indicated overwhelming support for an in-person prom, which respondents wanted to see held before graduation. Senior class advisors  at Farmington and North Farmington are working on August dates with traditional venues, but alternative venues may be considered. Health and safety concerns could cancel the event.

“Although we recognize that this communication does not provide all of the answers, nor the clarity that many are seeking, we hope that it does give some idea of what to expect in the coming months,” the note concluded. ”We promise that we are working tirelessly to honor our graduating seniors in the manner they deserve, while also following safety measures and guidelines.”