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New Commencement Information for the Class of 2020

May 15, 2020

In Monday's communication, we indicated that we submitted to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health our plan to hold Commencement at Byers Field in late July. We were hopeful that the size of Byers Field, given its spacious nature that would allow for ample social distancing, and late dates, given the fact that many entities will have re-opened by these, would satisfy our health experts sufficiently to let us proceed. Here is their response:

"Thank you for contacting our office with your proposed graduation plan. Unfortunately, the plan proposed is one that the Board of Health cannot endorse. The activities proposed are in direct violation of the state’s Mass Gathering and Stay Safe Ohio Orders. I have attached a guidance document that describes examples of graduation ceremonies that meet the state’s criteria. We have approved dozens of proposed commencement plans that fall into one of the following categories:

  • Virtual
  • Drive-thru
  • Single family in-person"

Having received this rejection, we again considered the feedback that you provided several weeks ago so that we could honor as much of your sentiment as possible. As we explained Monday, in addition to the "Byers Field" theme that resonated throughout a large majority of your answers, we also heard clearly your desire that graduates should have the opportunity to "walk the stage." To honor this wish, we will proceed with the "single family, in-person" ceremony at each of three high schools on the following dates: 

  • June 11
  • June 12
  • June 15
  • June 16
  • June 17

Our high school administrations will communicate to you by the middle of next week how they plan to schedule time slots for graduates and their families. We also communicate further social distancing protocols (masks, gloves, etc) as the events become closer. In the interim, we ask that you hold all, or as many as possible, of the dates free. We invite each graduate to bring with them four family members or guests to participate in the ceremony with them. We will have present one school administrator, one central office administrator, one member of our School Board, one videographer, and one photographer for a total of ten individuals in the Auditorium at any given time. We will make available the video of the ceremony, edited into one continuous event, as well as photographs, as soon as we can properly process them. 

This has been an arduous and emotional journey for all of us, to be sure. We know that not every Senior nor family will be pleased by this plan. We have delayed formalizing a plan as long as we can but now need to solidify one that meets County and State requirements. We will work to make these "single family in-person" ceremonies special and memorable. 

Thank you for your patience with and support of our schools, but, most importantly for your embrace of our Seniors!