With looming uncertainty over when or if students will go back to their classrooms this school year, one education milestone in particular remains especially in flux: high school graduation.


The rite of passage for thousands of high school seniors is up in the air as the state weighs whether to physically re-open schools May 1 or keep them closed for the rest of the school year, as the state of Alabama announced it would be doing last week.


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For the time being, students in Florida are practicing remote learning at home via internet or physical packets of work.


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In Santa Rosa County, the school district has not made any official announcements about whether or not graduation ceremonies will be canceled, held or postponed. But Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick told the News Journal on Tuesday that the district is already crafting an alternate plan.


"We are reserving the Pensacola Bay Center in late June and again in late July (for graduation ceremonies), but we don't have firm dates," he said in an email. "This should happen this week. Once final, we will post on the official school district website."


The school board is meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Woodlawn Beach Middle School. The meeting is being live-streamed to encourage social distancing.


In neighboring Escambia County, Superintendent Malcolm Thomas has pledged the district will do everything in its power to hold a graduation ceremony for seniors, though the event could be delayed as late as July.


"At this point, it doesn't look like it's very hopeful that we would hold a commencement at the end of May," Thomas said at a press conference last week. "But I have said since the beginning, we're going to do whatever we can do to make sure a graduation ceremony is held."


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Thomas said even if the district waited until late July for a ceremony, the majority of students would likely still be in the community. Thomas said last week that officials were waiting before announcing any details, like a date or location for a possible ceremony.


"I will tell you this, we will do something to make sure we honor our seniors who've spent their life thus far preparing for that moment where they can walk across a stage in a cap and gown, have a picture taken and receive a diploma," Thomas said last week. "We know that's important and we're going to support that in any way we can."


Annie Blanks can be reached at ablanks@pnj.com or 850-435-8632.