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How do Utah high school seniors feel about school closing the rest of the year?

Posted at 11:21 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 01:21:34-04

RIVERTON, Utah — Utah's Class of 2020 will graduate unlike any other statewide graduating class in history -- completely online.

Usually, graduation announcements come in the form of cute cards filled with a picture montage of the honored teen, sent to family and friends.

It doesn't usually come in the form of a press conference by the governor of the State of Utah, standing at a podium.

But on Tuesday, Governor Gary Herbert made the announcement that this year, Utah schools will finish online. No one is going back to class for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"To actually hear it, it was kind of like, 'Okay this is real. I'm not going back to school,'" said Riverton High School senior Korinne Brinkman.

"It was kind of disappointing to actually know that everything's kind of over for my high school life," expressed Hunter High senior Lydia Dent.

Their time spent going to class and hanging out with friends at lunch is officially over, without a chance to say goodbye.

"It really sucks," Korinne said. "Where it's just like, 'Oh I was excited for prom, oh I was [excited] we have an assembly for all the seniors and it goes through all our videos throughout the year."

For Korinne, the big event to look forward to was the annual senior assembly. She said she's been looking forward to it ever since she started high school.

For Lydia, it was the Hunter High Dance Company final concert. She had her costumes purchased, and dance routines practiced.

"Opening night was supposed to be tomorrow," she said. "So, we pretty much had everything ready to go."

Instead of going to school, seeing her friends and performing for the final time of her high school career, she'll be sitting at her desk, alone, and doing all her work on the computer.

Not to mention, seniors this year will miss out on a big graduation ceremony, and other events around graduation.

The only thing that might stay stable, are grades-- depending on how teachers grade assignments.

Both Korinne and Lydia indicated that they didn't expect much of a change on that front.

During Governor Herbert's press conference Tuesday afternoon, Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson explained that they are talking to school leaders, about how final grades might turn out this year.

"Talking to them about options for 'pass' and 'incomplete,' rather than 'pass/fail,' or using third semester grades as the higher of two grades," she said.

Dickson also talked about the possibility of virtual graduations.

There won't be a whole class of seniors listening to Pomp and Circumstance in person, or throwing their caps into the air in unison.

Korinne and Lydia described how the Class of 2020 will still be left with a memorable year-- just not in the way they ever imagined.

"It does suck," Korinne said. "But as long as my family's safe, my friends are safe, I'm okay."

"We will eventually be able to come back together," Lydia said, adding, "and it'll be something that makes us grow."