Members of the administration spoke to the senior class and answered questions about the school’s current plans for end-of-year traditions in a virtual town hall today. During the event, held over Zoom webinar, President Rick Commons, as well as Head of Upper School Laura Ross and other school leaders, addressed concerns about how the school will handle graduation, prom and other senior events in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, assuming that the school will be unable to host graduation June 5, the administration plans to postpone the ceremony until later in the summer rather than to hold a virtual commencement. If conditions do not improve by the end of this summer, however, the school is considering the option of holding a graduation for the Class of 2020 as late as next summer, Upper School Dean Sharon Cuseo said. In the meantime, the administration is working to create a commemorative video for this year’s graduating class, which will likely be released on the originally scheduled graduation date, Ross said.
Despite these plans, Commons said that the school cannot sponsor a prom later in the summer due to liability issues. Dean of Students Jordan Church mentioned that while hosting a prom will no longer be within the school’s jurisdiction after June 5, the administration is open to working with the Harvard-Westlake Parents Association to plan a similar dance. Church urged students to continue searching for ways to salvage the senior experience.
“Please do not abandon creative ideas that happen post-graduation,” Church said. “You’ll have them. We’ll find the appropriate people to support you in that and I’m involved in most of the current senior traditions and I am more than happy to continue that support and that guidance and my expertise in that. We want to do as much as we can for you.”