Berkeley school district cancels in-person graduation ceremony, resumes use of Zoom for instruction

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In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Berkeley Unified School District, or BUSD, announced it will cancel its in-person high school graduation ceremony and resume its use of Zoom for instruction in a districtwide email Wednesday.

While the school district typically holds its graduation ceremony at Haas Pavilion, BUSD is collaborating with the Herff Jones production company to livecast this year’s ceremony for students and families to view from home. According to the email, the ceremony will feature awards, speakers and short videos of the district’s graduates.

“We all acknowledge that this is only a facsimile of a traditional graduation event,” said BUSD Superintendent Brent Stephens in the email. “But we hope that this event will provide some sense of completion and satisfaction to our seniors.”

The district also plans to follow a similar model for students completing fifth and eighth grade.

After the district suspended its use of Zoom on April 10, BUSD will now permit instruction on the platform, giving teachers the choice of what medium to use. According to the email, if they use Zoom, teachers will be expected to follow the district’s updated security protocols.

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Mallika Seshadri is the city news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @SeshadriMallika.