- Anne Arundel County Public Schools
- May 29, 2020
THE HUB - Feature Article
New Health Guidance Leads School System to Alter Diploma Delivery for Graduating SeniorsPosted by Melvin Edwards on 5/28/2020
Based on new guidance from the county Health Officer, Superintendent George Arlotto today announced a change in Anne Arundel County Public Schools’ plans to celebrate graduating seniors that will allow some family members to be with their graduates when they receive their diplomas.
In addition to Digital Commencement Celebrations that will begin on Friday, high schools and developmental centers will now offer graduates an individual in-person opportunity to receive their diploma at their school in their cap and gown and with a small group of immediate family members watching as they do so. Schools will also be arranging for photographers to document the occasion.
AACPS had tentatively planned to hold a Cap and Gown Gala event for each school’s graduating class in late July, but county Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman has advised Dr. Arlotto that such large-scale gatherings will still likely not be possible at that time. That information led to the cancellation of the late July events, which the Live! Event Center at Arundel Mills had offered to host, and started discussions about the new arrangement.
“I have said since the day schools were closed in March that we would do everything we could to celebrate our seniors to the greatest extent possible,” Dr. Arlotto said. “This is an evolving situation, with the guidelines and restrictions continuing to change, and we must be able to alter our plans accordingly. I am grateful to Dr. Kalyanaraman and his entire team for their continued conversations as we traverse this difficult time for everyone.”
Said Dr. Kalyanaraman: “I know how important honoring the graduates of our schools is to Dr. Arlotto and everyone in the school system. It is conceivable that the conditions in late July may allow for the gatherings that had been planned, but it is unlikely. The path Dr. Arlotto has now laid out is a far better option.”
Schools will individually schedule times for their ceremonies, which will be held over several days following their Digital Commencement Celebrations. Information will be conveyed to families by individual schools. Graduates will be allowed to be accompanied by up to four immediate family members and must travel to the school in no more than two vehicles at their assigned time. Graduates will not be allowed to be accompanied by classmates, friends, or other relatives.
Graduates and family members must remain in their vehicle until the scheduled time when the graduate will approach a stage set up outside the school, have their name called, and be given a diploma. Family members may stand outside their vehicles to take photographs but may not be on stage with their graduate.
School staff will adhere to physical distancing requirements as they facilitate the events. All school staff and anyone getting out of a vehicle must wear a mask. Graduates may take their mask off only for the photograph and must then put it back on.
Graduates and their family members must immediately return to their vehicle and exit the school grounds after the graduate receives a diploma.
AACPS Meals Distribution Tops 1 Million MarkPosted by Melvin Edwards on 5/14/2020
The commitment of Anne Arundel County Public Schools to ensuring that children continue to receive nutritious meals during the school shutdown hit a new milestone today when the Division of Food and Nutrition Services handed out its 1 millionth meal. AACPS has provided meals to children ages 2 to 18 since March 16, the first day of the school shutdown. At the close of today, the 39th day of meal distribution, AACPS has provided 1,008,252 meals to 336,084 children.
“Our Food and Nutrition Services team is nothing short of phenomenal,” Superintendent George Arlotto said. “They have been at our meal sites in all kinds of weather to ensure children are fed and their commitment never wavers. It is inspiring to see.”
Children can go to any of the 40 school sites from noon to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or the 20 additional mobile meals at the specified times. Children do not have to be eligible for free and reduced-price meals to pick up meals. Adults cannot accept meals on behalf of children who are not present.
“The highlight for me is the satisfaction I see on the faces,” Supervisor of Food and Nutrition Services Jodi Risse said. “I see that satisfaction in children, in adults, and in the members of our team who view this as a calling to help our community. It is incredible to watch.”
The meal distribution has included:
- 10,155 meals served to 3,385 students on March 16, the first day of distribution.
- A high of 35,232 meals served to 11,744 children on April 8.
- An average of 25,852 meals served per day.
A complete list of meal sites can be found at www.aacps.org/mealpickup.