VICTORIA -- The Sooke School District (SD62) has announced that it will be holding in-person, physically distanced graduation ceremonies this summer.

The school district says that the graduation ceremonies will follow all provincial health guidelines, including physical distancing and restrictions on groups larger than 50 people.

Each graduation ceremony will feature small groups of students coming to the school, donning a cap and gown, and approaching an auditorium stage to pick up a graduation diploma package one by one. Students will then receive a professional photo and return to their seats.

To comply with provincial health guidelines and limit the amount of people in attendance, family members will not be invited to watch the ceremony.

“It’s important to note that this will not be a traditional graduation ceremony,” said Scott Stinson, superintendent of schools for SD62 in a letter to families Wednesday.

The school district says that graduation videos will still be created, which will feature speeches from school faculty and student valedictorians.

The graduation ceremonies will take place between June 22 and June 25 during regular school hours.

Earlier this month, students in the Sooke School District launched an online petition when SD62 first announced that it would not be holding in-person graduation ceremonies due to COVID-19.

The petition, which has garnered more than 4,500 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon, called for a postponement of graduation ceremonies or an alternative program, like a drive-by ceremony.

“We hear you,” said Stinson of the complaints and desire for in-person ceremonies.

Further details on each graduation ceremony will be released to families by their respective schools in the near future.

“Thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate the ever-changing guidelines while working to celebrate your achievement in a safe and responsible way,” said Stinson.