Commencement Update

When and how will the Class of 2020 graduate?


Photo courtesy of

The typical graduation on the Quad may not be possible as scheduled for the senior class due to protective measures against COVID-19. Pictured: the Class of 2019

This article was updated May 23 to include new information:

An email from Head of School Mr. Ron Kim on May 19 updated seniors and their families on graduation.

If the original June 5 graduation ceremony is not possible, seniors and those they live with can schedule a time to come to campus and pick up their diplomas between June 5 and June 10. Each senior and their family will have ten minutes with their caps, gowns, and tassels to pick up their diplomas. A photographer will be present.

“The awarding of diplomas is structured to meet the health and safety guidelines set forth by San Diego County, so limiting this event to seniors and members of their household is important. We will have precautions on campus to ensure safe social distancing,” the email shared.

In addition, the School still hopes a ceremony can take place later in the summer. The email shared, “As we wait for restrictions on large gatherings to be amended, we are hopeful that we can meet our goal of having all seniors together for an abbreviated commencement ceremony on June 19 or July 10. As soon as we know more, we will share those details.”


May 15, 2020

As the school days remaining until summer draw fewer and fewer, seniors are left wondering how the rest of their year will transpire. While Knights News announced May 10 that some events such as Prom were canceled, the School remains open-minded about Commencement.

Two days later, in an email to seniors and their families, Head of School Mr. Ron Kim shared the news that while a definite decision on changing Commencement has not been made, Bishop’s is considering alternatives should the original graduation not be able to take place. He wrote, “Our options are shaped by state and county health and safety guidelines regarding the size of and spaces for gatherings. Currently gatherings at schools are prohibited. We continue to hope for the loosening of these restrictions, but we will organize our plans around these limitations.”

Social distancing regulations make it difficult to hold a gathering like graduation; the senior class alone is 128 people. The School does not want to hold any events until it is certain that attendees will not be put at risk for COVID-19. At this time, Mr. Kim has asked seniors and their families to keep a few future dates in mind⸺Friday, June 19 and Friday, July 10⸺with the hope that if the original graduation cannot take place, it can be rescheduled for later in the summer. In the meantime, June 5 is still the scheduled graduation date.

Sierra Martin (‘20) shared: “I’m actually very happy that they postponed commencement. I’d much rather have a ceremony in person⸺however late it may be⸺than have to do something online or something that may be unsafe for everybody involved. It’s like what Mr. Kim said in the email; we (or at least I) need closure, and we can’t really achieve that without one last trip to campus. Even if we had to wait until next year for a complete ceremony, I’d still prefer that option over a virtual alternative.”

“I feel okay about the commencement situation because it’s for the safety of everyone and it’s just one moment in our long lives that we’re missing. It could be much worse,” remarked Kirra McColl (‘20).

This update was announced after all of the traditional Head of School and senior lunches. Each year, the Head of School has a lunch with every senior advisory group to talk about the seniors’ experience at Bishop’s. This year’s lunches took place virtually.

Mr. Kim wrote, “My primary considerations have always been student health and well-being, as well as the quality of the student experience, all of which remain my priorities as I think about commencement. For seniors, I believe it is important for you to return to campus to see and feel the place where you have grown so much, and to be recognized and celebrated for your achievements. I believe it is important for seniors to say thank you and goodbye to the school to which you have contributed so much. Our goal is to launch all of you successfully to the next phase of your lives, and for that you need proper closure.”

Until then, seniors can still celebrate their Bishop’s experiences via Senior Arts Night and the Senior Salute Chapel, which have been adjusted to an online format for this year. The School also remains optimistic about making adjusted plans for a Baccalaureate and Awards Day, as mentioned in Knights News.