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Some seniors to finish school early after Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools waives local graduation requirements

If seniors meet the state's basic graduation requirements by April 27, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools said that could mark the end of their school year.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Some seniors in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools could be looking at a shorter year than they initially expected. 

The school district said spring courses are going to be determined on a pass, fail or draw basis. 

If students have met North Carolina's basic graduation requirements by April 27, the Board of Education decided to waive any further credits the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School district may have required. 

The district said that means April 27 could mark the end of some students' high school educational careers. 

Trevor Burns is one of the students in that position.

"I’ve kind of accepted it now," said Trevor, "It’s just like summer came early."

Trevor is in his senior year at Glenn High School.

Credit: Tina Butler

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"None of us expected it. That’s for sure. We thought 'Oh, we’re going to have a normal like every class did," he said, "We’re going to have our prom, our graduation, and stuff, but now we’re not having our prom. Our graduation is still up in the air."

His mother Tina is a teacher. She said the news took her by surprise, but she understands. 

"We’re living in an unprecedented situation and we’ve never been through anything quite like this before. So they’re airing on the side of grace for these kids which I appreciate," she said. 

The district said fall grades will count toward students' GPA. If students are missing credits, have AP or IB work and tests to complete, teachers and staff will continue to work with them. 

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Currently, the district said there have been no plans made to change or cancel graduation ceremonies. 

Superintendent Angela Hairston said if changes or cancellation becomes necessary or mandated by the state, that will be communicated to students and their families. 

WSFCS released the following guidelines for seniors: 

Fall Courses: Seniors will receive grades for fall courses as already recorded, yearlong and semester. Fall grades will count toward GPA. For year-long courses, the fall term grade will be counted into the GPA. For semester-long courses, the final course grade will be counted into the GPA.

Yearlong courses: Grades from the first three quarters to determine a passing and failing status toward graduation requirements.

Spring Courses: Based on their learning and grades prior to March 13, Seniors will be given a “Pass” or “Fail” for spring courses, or they can opt to “withdraw.”

If the senior has a failing grade as of March 13 for graduation requirement courses, schools will provide eLearning opportunities for the student to work toward a passing grade.

Graduation Requirement Guidance for Seniors: NCDPI’s goals for the Senior Class of 2020 are to graduate high school seniors by meeting the minimum State Board of Education graduation requirements, which is 22 credits by the originally scheduled graduation date.

The school district said students who have not met the requirements by April 27 will continue to receive the support of teachers. The district said students will have until June 11 to complete coursework and requirements. 

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