Graduation Update — May 12, 2020
As follow up to the message sent last week regarding commencement, there are a few additional updates to share. We are looking towards Friday, June 26, 2020 for an outdoor, appropriately distanced, graduation ceremony at Memorial Stadium.  Most of the typical program elements and graduation traditions, if not all, will be prerecorded, displayed, and controlled in some manner.  However, we intend to have professional photo opportunities available for each graduate.  Considerable effort and thought will be put into the number of family members each senior may have in attendance, where attendees may sit, parking requirements, etc.  Details regarding practice, attendance, and parking will be provided later to seniors and their families.  If local health department officials approve of our plan per Governor DeWine’s orders by mid-June, then we will proceed on June 26 unless there is a weather delay.  Alternate dates and times have been set for June 27 and June 28.  

If by mid-June circumstances will not allow the local health department to approve our plan, we will pivot to a drive-up ceremony.  Staff will need approximately two weeks to transition effectively from our first to second option.  A drive-up ceremony will ideally occur on June 26 in or around the west end of the building parking lot.  Again, most program elements and traditions will be prerecorded, but we intend to still have a professional photographer on site for graduate photo opportunities.  Like the first option, considerable effort and thought will be placed in the number of family members each senior may have per car and parking requirements/assignments to ensure the best sight lines.  Guidelines at the end of June will dictate what and how many individuals may be outside vehicles at any time.  Details regarding practice, attendance, and parking will be provided to seniors and families later when and if this plan becomes necessary.  If something unforeseen occurs, alternate dates and times have been set for June 27 and June 28.  

Because the situation is so fluid and since circumstances may prevent us from gaining the approval of any plan by mid-June, we will prepare for a virtual ceremony as well.  Beginning May 18, 2020, seniors, parents, and caregivers in groups of six or less will be scheduled for short appointments to record students walking across the stage and receiving their diplomas from parents or caregivers.  All other prerecorded elements of the ceremony will be edited to include conferring of diplomas and shared with students and families upon completion.  If this becomes the only option available to us, we will need to prepare in advance.  

Finally, we have identified a need to separate Senior Awards from the actual commencement ceremony.  Currently, we are considering only two models to announce Senior Awards – drive-up ceremony or virtual using Zoom.  We are considering feasibility and have not made a final decision.
Why has a date, time, location, and format for Senior Awards not been announced?  Closures and shutdowns have affected the ability of various scholarship committees to meet and finalize recipients’ names.  In a more typical year, selections would have been made and shared with the school by the first week of May.  At the time this update was written, we have not heard from all scholarship committees, but we still expect our typical groups to provide awards and name recipients.    
We are incredibly thankful for the community volunteers who have extended several kindnesses to our students, and we are thankful that seniors and their families continue to handle fee payments, schedule composite pictures, and address other obligations to prepare for graduation.  We appreciate the patience of our community as circumstances may change, and we will try to communicate changes and future updates as needed.  Thank you for supporting Milton-Union Schools and members of the Class of 2020!