Wadsworth City Schools asks state for permission to host traditional style graduation ceremony

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WADSWORTH, Ohio (WJW) — Wadsworth City Schools Board of Education reached out to Governor Mike Dewine recently to ask for a waiver allowing the district to host a traditional style graduation ceremony with safety in mind.

The school district has already delayed its graduation until June 28, hoping for the restrictions allowing groups of no more than ten people at a time to have been lifted.

After that restriction was extended until July 1, board members started considering the possibility of holding a graduation ceremony in the school’s football stadium, separating the 404 graduates on the field while keeping a social distance between family members in the stands.

“Some of our board members thought that it may be worth a chance to do a resolution asking for some consideration of the governor and of Dr. Acton to be able to potentially issue an order or relax the existing order for commencement ceremonies that follow proper social distancing and then have the full plan approved by the local health department,” said Superintendent Andy Hill.

*Read more stories on how the coronavirus has impacted graduation, here.*

The district already had plans for two alternate ceremonies. One of the options was for students to come to the school and accept their diplomas one at a time with only close family members present.

“We put a video together kind of a virtual ceremony,” said Hill, explaining “the other was a parking lot ceremony where each student was allowed to have a car full of family whoever in our student parking lot, we have just enough spots to make it happen for our 404 graduates. The seniors voted on the parking lot option, tentatively scheduled as a backup on Jun 28 to have a parking lot ceremony at our high school.”

Seniors like Brian Weeks tell FOX 8 that if they had the choice, they would still prefer a traditional commencement ceremony.

See how other schools are celebrating gradation with car parades below.

“I would just like to just have our graduate class just all there instead of like all coming at either certain times and maybe cropping a video or us all being in a car,” said Weeks.

The resolution, which did not pass the board unanimously, was sent to the governor’s office on Tuesday.

It is now up to him if he will accept it or reject it. If it is rejected the school district will hold its alternate gathering on the 28th instead.

The date is just three days short of the deadline for the extended rules from the state.

Hill says the local health department would supervise the entire event, and that the district’s priority at all times will be the health and safety of everyone involved.

“The Wadsworth city school district board of education is not just saying throw all health concerns aside commencement is the most important thing, they are saying we think we can do this in a safe way practicing what the cdc and other agencies are asking us to do let us have that ability to create a plan to keep people safe working with out health department to give these kids the opportunity for a send off they deserve,” said Hill.

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