"It is no longer realistic to believe these events, which often draw thousands of people, will be safe or allowed by health officials," WCPSS chairman Keith Sutton said in a virtual meeting held Friday morning.
Sutton said virtual ceremonies are "strongly being considered" to honor graduates in June. He said the virtual graduations would be a way to safely celebrate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
#Breaking—@wcpss officials say in-person graduation ceremonies will be formally cancelled. They hope to have details next week on how they’ll celebrate the class of 2020. #abc11 pic.twitter.com/qo0fJRvE47— Gloria Rodriguez (@GloriaABC11) May 8, 2020
The district hopes it can arrange smaller in-person celebrations planned by each school in June or July.
School will be 'very different' next year, Wake County superintendent says
WATCH: WCPSS cancels graduation ceremonies for Class of 2020
"We understand the need to retain as much tradition as possible," Sutton said. "I wish from the bottom of my heart that we could hold additional graduation ceremonies. In the end, we cannot jeopardize the safety of our students, families, their friends and loved ones."
Sutton said they should have more details next week on ways they plan to honor graduating seniors.
"It's what everyone looks forward to when they graduate from high school and just to not have it is just really hard," Rolesville cheerleader Morgan Douglas told ABC11 on Friday.
"It's been tough but we understand that Wake County had to make that decision in the best interest of everyone's health," her mother, Nevada, said.
Her son's graduation from NCCU was also canceled.
"Whatever graduation will look like at their school, we still as a family are celebrating their accomplishments," she said.
Meanwhile, Durham Public Schools is holding modified graduation services -- drive-in, drive-thru and virtual -- in the coming weeks. DPS' complete schedule and county plan is available here.