FRONT ROYAL – Based on the results of a survey, seniors at Warren County and Skyline high schools will decide whether they have an individual graduation or a traditional ceremony.

Interim Schools Superintendent Melody Sheppard explained via telephone the decision is being left up to students because “this has been a really difficult year for our seniors.”

“It definitely was not the way they imagined their senior year to end. So we wanted to give them an opportunity to say what they really wanted to do,” she said.

Sheppard explained that a three-question survey was recently emailed to the 400 graduation candidates in which they are asked to choose between two possible graduation ceremonies.

The survey states the “individual graduation ceremony” would be held in early June, a scenario in which each senior would have a graduation time and “will wear their cap and gown and parents will be invited to attend.”

“The senior will walk across the stage and accept their diploma and pose for a variety of photos. A video compilation of the individual graduation ceremonies will be distributed to all seniors,” the survey states.

The second option is a traditional ceremony that would be held the first week in August. If such a gathering is permitted at the time, the ceremony would be held at the schools’ football stadiums.

“The graduates will be on the field and parents will be seated in the stadium on both the home and visitors bleachers,” the survey states.

If such gatherings are not allowed at the time, the contingency plan would be individual ceremonies.

If seniors choose to have a traditional graduation, Sheppard said social distancing precautions will be implemented.

“We’re thinking through all of those things that we need to put together in order to be able to have a successful graduation where we are considering the health and safety of our parents and our visitors,” Sheppard said.

She added that the full graduation ceremony would not have been an option in the survey “had we not felt we could do it safely.”

The survey will close Sunday and the schools will make an announcement regarding graduation plans sometime next week.

– Contact Josh Gully at