LEWISTON — High school seniors will be required to complete 18 credits, six fewer than district policy, by May 29 to graduate.

Lewiston High School Principal Jake Langlais  Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

The School Committee on Monday night unanimously approved an amended policy that will affect only the Class of 2020.

Lewiston High School Principal Jake Langlais proposed the change in light of the disruption of classes. Schools have been closed since March 16 to help limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“Stress from COVID-19 will affect student academic performance,” Langlais said. “We all want the best for our students.”

The 18 credits will include the state’s 11 core requirements of four English, two math, two science (including one lab), two social studies and one visual/performing arts.

Lewiston students must also earn one credit in health/physical education and six elective credits.

Grades will be closed next week “so students know exactly where they stand,” Langlais said. “The very next step is who needs what.”

If students need to recover credit, teachers will help with that. If seniors want to learn what they would have learned during the school closure, that will be provided. And if they have already earned enough credits to graduate but don’t want to stay home doing nothing, they can take courses for additional credit, according to Langlais’ proposal.

He said 74.9% of seniors are on track to graduate, 9.9% are within reach and 15.2% are “well behind” and would need a significant push to graduate.

There is still “some glimmer of hope” that a graduation ceremony could be held June 5, ahead of the final day of classes June 8, Langlais said.

If that is not possible because of public safety concerns, the ceremony would be scheduled for summer.

“I know the community is very committed to having some kind of ceremony,” the principal said. It might be in person or a combination of virtual and in person, he said. He said he did not favor a virtual ceremony.

A decision would be made by May 11 on the June 5 date.

If it is deemed not possible, a “hard date” would be set around June 29 to announce “what we can have and not have and in what format.”

According to Langlais’ proposal, the week of July 28 would include senior prom, a top 10 luncheon, a recognition ceremony and other senior events.

Graduation potentially would be held Aug. 1 under the lights on the football field, he said.

The worst-case scenario is that it would be canceled.

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