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DeWine talks alternatives for graduation ceremonies

Governor: Mass gatherings can not take place

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said on Wednesday that mass gatherings for graduation ceremonies can not be allowed under the current restrictions due to the coronavirus.

The governor outlined possible alternate ceremonies schools can conduct to honor seniors finishing high school.

“When we look at whether or not to hold a graduation ceremony, social distancing and keeping social distance practices must be first and foremost,” DeWine said at his news conference on Wednesday. “Mass gatherings simply cannot be held.”

The governor said he has asked the state departments of health and education to offer guidance for local schools to follow.

He said they recommended three possibilities — virtual graduations, which many are taking part in, drive-in ceremonies, where students drive to a designated location at a set time to receive their diploma and events with blocks of 10 people or less at a time, which are socially distanced.

“Ohio has 612 school districts,” DeWine said. “Each school district must work with their local health department to make sure that their plan is in accordance with public health guidelines to deal with the pandemic.”

The governor said the state is also concerned about graduation parties.

“This is tough this year, and I would ask people to remember — graduation parties can pose as much or more of a risk as a graduation,” DeWine said. “Our guidelines are no more than 10 people.”

The governor said the state would post guidelines on its coronavirus page at http://coronavirus.ohio.gov.