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Hamilton County Schools has officially postponed high school graduations and proms scheduled for April and May due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Though many individual schools have already notified seniors of changing plans, the district sent a letter to all seniors Friday night notifying them of the situation.

"We do not know the form graduation events may take at this point or the exact time frame they will be held, but know we are looking at all options," Superintendent Bryan Johnson said in the letter. "For the safety of staff, seniors, and families, the district is postponing our original plans for graduations and proms. The decision is not an easy one, but we feel it is what we must do at this time."

Schools across the district are already closed for most of the month of April, with Hamilton County students scheduled to return on April 27 thanks to a recommendation by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, but some wonder if students will return to school at all this year.

COMING SUNDAY

Check out the Times Free Press on Sunday, April 5 for a story about five local high school seniors and their thoughts on their disrupted senior year.

Most colleges and universities have moved classes online for the remainder of the semester and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) postponed spring commencement ceremonies until August.

Johnson said the district is looking at a variety of options for alternative dates and locations for these special, senior year milestones, including alternative events and ways for schools to honor seniors.

The district has formed a committee to explore these alternatives and is working with the Superintendent's Student Advisory Committee and the Student School Board Member Jeremiah Taylor regarding these plans.

The district also sent a survey to members of the senior class Friday, in an effort to gather current student feedback. 

Contact Meghan Mangrum at mmangrum@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum. 

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