Miami Valley superintendents weigh in on governor’s updated graduation guidelines

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Two Miami Valley superintendents share their graduation plans after Governor Mike DeWine clarified graduation guidelines during Wednesday’s briefing.

Tuesday, DeWine said socially distant graduation ceremonies might go on this year, however, Wednesday he laid out what that means.

Eaton Community Schools superintendent Jeff Parker told WDTN the district still has plans to hold a socially distant graduation ceremony on May 30 at Millett Hall at Miami University.

“Based on yesterday (Tuesday), we were hopeful that there might be social distancing within Millett Hall, being such a large place that we might be able to do something,” Parker said.

However, DeWine provided three guidelines for graduations that wouldn’t allow traditional graduations to happen.

First, the most preferred option is to hold a virtual ceremony.

Second is to hold a drive-in ceremony where students are given a time to pick up their diplomas.

The third is to have an event where 10 people or less are present and students and families receive their diplomas one-at-a-time.

Oakwood City School District has already made the decision to move to a virtual ceremony on May 26.

It would be held on Zoom and 1,000 people could attend.

“I still think we’re going to make it a really meaningful and fun opportunity for our students,” high school principal Dr. Paul Waller said.

Waller said, even though it is disappointing to students and their families to not have an in-person ceremony, he thinks the governor’s guidelines are the right decision.

“Our actions, we could impact other people, and I think that’s the big message and I think the students understand that we have to make those tough decisions,” Waller said.

Oakwood also plans to hold a drive-thru cap and gown pickup and a celebration for seniors when social distancing guidelines are lifted later this summer.

Given the governor’s announcement, Parker said Eaton Community Schools have a backup graduation date in late June.

“If we have to wait until July in order to give these seniors and families the best graduation possible, where we’re all social distanced but together, we may do that,” Parker said.

Parker said Eaton is being patient and wants a virtual ceremony to be the last resort.

WDTN spoke to other schools in the area who say they plan to make a decision on the format of their graduation ceremonies later this month.

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