Duluth Public Schools seniors may have the opportunity to graduate in person.

Denfeld High School and East High School officials are planning to hold in-person graduation ceremonies for the class of 2021, with adjustments made for COVID-19 precautions.

Four masked family members watch as Clayton Higgins makes his way toward the stage following arrows in yellow tape during his five-minute graduation ceremony at Denfeld High School on Tuesday, May 12, 2020. (Tyler Schank / File / News Tribune)
Four masked family members watch as Clayton Higgins makes his way toward the stage following arrows in yellow tape during his five-minute graduation ceremony at Denfeld High School on Tuesday, May 12, 2020. (Tyler Schank / File / News Tribune)

Denfeld is considering two options: all-class graduation on the Public Schools Stadium field, weather permitting, or two separate ceremonies in the Denfeld Auditorium. Students who do not wish to participate in a full in-person ceremony will have the option to sign up for a single graduation time slot in the Denfeld Auditorium with family and friends.

“Graduation is a sacred tradition at Denfeld, and we want our time-honored traditions to hold true as best we can,” Denfeld Principal Tom Tusken said in a news release. “I’m proud of our staff and seniors and grateful to our community for their support.”

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East is planning two separate ceremonies at Amsoil Arena, with social distancing in place.

“Our schools have had discussions, both formal and informal, with students and staff regarding how to provide a safe, in-person graduation experience this year,” East Principal Danette Seboe said in a news release. “The goal of this planning is to provide a memorable senior experience.”

Nick Baron crosses the stage at East High School with only two family members in the audience to receive his diploma from Principal Danette Seboe on Thursday, May 14, 2020. (Tyler Schank / File / News Tribune)
Nick Baron crosses the stage at East High School with only two family members in the audience to receive his diploma from Principal Danette Seboe on Thursday, May 14, 2020. (Tyler Schank / File / News Tribune)

Both schools emphasized plans could change at any time in response to the pandemic. Superintendent John Magas told the News Tribune they are hoping to provide students with a traditional graduation this year.

"The final step for our students is graduation and walking across the stage," Magas said. "I'm very hopeful that we'll be able to offer an in-person rite of passage that's so important to our students. Also as a new superintendent, I'm personally really thrilled with the prospect of being able to do the graduation speech and accepting the graduating classes having completed all the requirements."

Magas said the number of tickets each student will be allotted for family members has not been determined.