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CHARDON, Ohio (WJW)– A local school district announced commencement plans with a social distancing spin.

Chardon Local Schools is graduating the class of 2020 with a drive-thru ceremony during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We started to look at virtual and creative ways to bring students in one-on-one to receive their diplomas,” said Doug Murray, principal.

On Monday, the school announced a drive-thru graduation ceremony that will take place May 16 in the parking lot.

“We created a system for students to arrive in pods. They can come to the front of the school, get into a line, receive any rewards and then they are getting ready for commencement,” Murray said.

From there, the drive-thru line will continue to a stage set up in front of the football field, where students will be able to get out of their cars and receive their diplomas. Families will stay in the car and watch.

“I will be able to hand out diplomas, along with the school board and superintendent, under a canopy. We can create a drive-thru system where they can come out, have their name read, which is pre-recorded, and then they have that personal touch,” Murray said.

The announcement restored hope for many Chardon seniors and their families.

“Some kids aren’t going to get to do as much as we are going to do. It’s super unique because it’s never been done before so we will be remembered for that,” said Marissa Scerbo, senior.

While this may not be the graduation they had planned, it’s one that they’ll always remember.

“It really opened my eyes how important that face-to-face interaction is and how we took it for granted,” said Karli Pirnat, senior.

The drive-thru graduation ceremony will be recorded. On June 4, the district rented out a drive-in movie theater so that seniors can watch it together in their cars.

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