Clarification about Graduation
Dear Families of the Class of 2020,
It appears some clarification is needed following the update we sent out yesterday. Graduation has not been canceled. There will be a graduation. It will not be like the other ceremonies that we have had in the past and I wish this were not the case. This is not a local decision; it is a decision that has been made for each school in Ohio. There is an order in place across the state that prevents large gatherings.
You may recall that we very early in this crisis changed our graduation date to late June with the hopes that the order would be lifted. That was our plan, until Thursday, April 23 at 4:16 p.m. when we received an email from the Ohio Department of Education that began with the following:
“Governor DeWine, during his press conference on Monday, April 20, stated, “the gathering of significant numbers of people is a dangerous situation. Just as schools have been innovative in regard to how to teach from a distance, I know that they will be innovative as they look at how…they honor the students…” We are asking the education community to come together and honor our students, especially our seniors, in a manner that doesn’t pose health risks to anyone. Schools should continue to recognize the importance of restrictions on mass gatherings, and events should be aligned with the Ohio Department of Health’s Order.”
In response to this communication and reminder of the Governor’s order, we immediately began to pursue another option that we had been considering in the event that we would not be able to gather. We are working with the Wood County Health Department to do all we can to keep participants and guests safe.
Dr. Short will share the details of this plan with families on Monday.
While there will be more specific details coming from Dr. Short, I would like to share an overview of what we are planning to do for our ceremony.
We are planning to hold a graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 17 in the PHS auditorium. This was to be the original graduation day for seniors. While we are referring to this as a virtual graduation, there is a very human component.
We will be inviting seniors and their immediate family members at an appointed time to arrive at PHS Commons while respecting social distancing. Graduates and families will be safely staged and, when it is their time, brought into the auditorium. Each senior will have their name read, walk across the stage in cap and gown and receive their diploma. Families and the graduate will be in the auditorium and when the graduate leaves the stage, all will exit the auditorium together. The next student will then have their name read and so on.
Dr. Short is in the process of securing a videographer who will film each student receiving their diploma. The videographer will then edit the film and create a virtual ceremony that will show all students receiving their diplomas as well as the various speakers. The final version will be shared with families and the public. Photographers will be on-hand as they are for all of our other graduations.
Please look for Dr. Short’s message on Monday for more information.
Thomas L. Hosler
Posted Saturday, April 25, 2020