2 More Valley School District Cancel Graduation Ceremonies
The Paradise Valley Unified and Tempe Union High school districts both announced on Thursday that they would were canceling their graduation ceremonies due to the sharp rise of COVID-19 cases across the state and among Paradise Valley students.
Numerous high school students informed the Paradise Valley district that they have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who contracted the virus after attending a graduation party, it said in its Thursday letter to students and parents.
"While the district would have done its best to work with the venue to enforce safety precautions while attendees entered the property, the fact remains that holding this event creates an increased heightened risk for community spread before, during, and after the event," said Paradise Valley Superintendent Jesse Walsh.
Gov. Doug Ducey said in his Wednesday press conference that he was aware of cases spread by people having parties in their homes like graduation.
Earlier this week, the Paradise Valley district had hoped to continue safely with the ceremonies despite the current situation.
In addition to concerns over the number of COVID-19 cases in the state, the Tempe district said it was unable to secure a venue large enough to provide the social distancing that would be necessary for gatherings of this size. Venues that were contacted, such as ASU’s Desert Financial Arena, are not available for rental due to the current state-wide restrictions, the district said in its letter.
"Although our current circumstances necessitate the cancellation of an in-person graduation, we want to continue to honor the strength and resilience of the Class of 2020," said Superintendent Kevin Mendivil. "This has been a historical, unprecedented time and we know that our seniors will make their mark on the world in an equally historical and unprecedented way."