Coronavirus and Graduations: DeWine lays out official guidelines

Gov. DeWine cleared up confusion over what would be permitted around graduation celebrations during his press conference on Wednesday.

Traditional ceremonies remain banned in the state, and he layed out three options for districts, in order of what he and Dr. Acton prefer for safety reasons:

  1. Virtual ceremonies: Ceremonies held using social media or a video chat app.
  2. Drive-in ceremonies: Variation 1: Students and their families drive up to the school (wearing masks). Only the student gets out of the car to receive the diploma, the principal says the name of the student on a loud speaker, a photo or video is taken of the student by school staff, and the family drives away. All of this is done in a single-file line with police presence. Variation 2: In this variation, all family members stay in the car. The senior is in the front seat and the principal passes the diploma through the car window and shares congratulations. Everyone wears masks. The student is photographed by school staff in a separate location. This could be held in alphabetical order. Again, all of this is done in a single-file line with police presence.
  3. Small gathering ceremonies (single person graduation): Families are called into the auditorium one-by-one (no more than 10 people total including the school administrators), the student walks across the stage, receives a diploma and walks out of the auditorium and back to the car. The next family enters. Attention should be paid to disinfecting surfaces (door handles, hand railings, etc.) that may be repeatedly touched. Also, strict parking management and regulation is needed to prevent congregating in parking lots and outdoor locations. This can be done by appointment only to ensure a smooth process for all.

DeWine also banned graduation parties, saying, “While it is time to graduate, it’s not the time to have a graduation party.” Students and families will need to get creative with how they choose to celebrate the occasion, potentially doing this virtually as well.

Both the governor and Dr. Acton expressed sympathy towards the Class of 2020 while delivering these updated guidelines, while also remaining an attitude of silver lining.

Acton equated the situation to a wedding she had seen in the paper, where a couple were married in the middle of the street, with neighbors cheering from their homes.

“It wasn’t what they expected, and it wasn’t what they planned. But it’s a special story to tell.”

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