COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday that he would be fine with Ohio’s schools and districts holding in-person graduation ceremonies, provided the schools figure out a way to maintain social distancing and protect the health and safety of attendees.
During the governor’s daily coronavirus briefing, a reporter said that they have been getting questions from viewers about graduation ceremonies, suggesting that a ceremony with a smaller group in a stadium or large outdoor area where attendees can stay six feet apart would not violate the state’s orders.
“So, if as far as I’m concerned, if a school can do the distancing, if they can figure out how to do that, you know, they can certainly do graduation,” DeWine said. “It’s going to be driven by what facility they have. So there’s a lot of different things, but could there be a way that a school puts together a graduation? I would certainly think so. Again, they’ve got to be careful, it’s got to be well thought out, and you’ve got to figure it out.”
While the Ohio Department of Education does not specifically prohibit in-person graduation ceremonies, a statement on their website reads: “Congregate graduation ceremonies should not be held. Additionally, we recommend holding a virtual or alternate recognition on the original intended graduation date or a date very close to that date.”
The department recommends that school leaders conduct graduation ceremonies and other recognition events “in a remote manner that honors each student in a safe and responsible way, prioritizing the health needs of students, their families and the community.”
Some area schools, such as Kent State University, have announced plans for virtual graduations and commencements. Other districts and schools have not yet made an announcement regarding how graduation will be celebrated.