PLANT CITY, Fla. — For several weeks, Florida K-12 schools have been closed in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.
For seniors across the state, that could mean missing out on milestones such as prom and graduation.
- No plans yet to change graduation schedule in Hillsborough County
- Contingency plans such as postponing, holding ceremonies virtually being discussed
- More Hillsborough County stories
"All the seniors just want to be together again, that's really all we want at this point," said Denim Hughes, a senior at Durant High School in Plant City.
Hillsborough County School Superintendent Addison Davis said he's not ready to make any changes to the graduation schedule right now. As it stands, ceremonies would start on May 21.
"We want to protect and keep the schedule right now," Davis said during a Facebook Live interview with Tampa Mayor Jane Castor recently. "We see other counties making different calls and that's their prerogative to cancel but I'm just not willing to do that at this point, so until we can't do it, it's on."
The district is getting contingency plans in place just in case, like postponing the ceremonies until later in the summer or holding the ceremonies virtually.
"You know, our children work so hard for 13 years and they want to cross that stage, they want to have that special moment and as a civic leader, I want to provide them with that, as well," said Davis.
Hughes admits the uncertainty has been hard for her and her friends.
"I'm not going to lie, a lot of us are really hurt," she said. "Graduation is a tradition we've watched for years and something we've looked forward to. Now we're afraid there could be a crowd limit with the coronavirus going around. We're just not sure what's going to happen."
However, Hughes said she's trying to look at it as a learning experience.
"This entire situation has made us stronger," she said. "But at the same time we're hurting, so we're leaning on each other to get through this."
Hughes said she is still hopeful she'll be able to don her cap and gown.
"Even if my finish line ends up being a little further down the road, at the end of the day we need to put the health and safety of the whole population ahead of ourselves," she said.