Palo Alto Unified School District high school graduations will be modified to comply with shelter-in-place protocol but remain scheduled for the first week of June, according to Superintendent Don Austin.

Yesterday in a webinar available to the PAUSD community, Superintendent Don Austin discussed goals of making a virtual graduation as meaningful as possible but did not go into many specifics.

“There are school districts that are going to, you know, take a picture, send it in, ‘We’ll make a slideshow,’” Austin said. “We may or may not do something like that, but there won’t be any one piece that is ‘Here is our thing.’ … We are going to do multiple things and they may not all resonate with every student but we are hoping that the more we do, the more chances we have for success.”


“We are going to do the best we can in a bad situation.”

— Don Austin, superintendent


Austin said that a video of some kind would likely be an element of the reimagined graduation and emphasized the importance of involving the entire community in celebrating Palo Alto’s high school seniors.

“The things that our seniors are going to miss are probably more important than anything we are going to talk about tonight,” Austin said. “Because you don’t get that time back. And they didn’t even know that it was the day to go by and say goodbye to their teachers or to make sure they connected with a friend.”

Austin mentioned plans for further discussion with students through a meeting scheduled to take place Wednesday. The topic will also be addressed at the school board meeting tonight.

“We are going to do the best we can in a bad situation,” Austin said.

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