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CMSD plans drive-up, virtual graduations

CMSD will hold in-person, drive-up graduation processions and virtual ceremonies to protect members of the Class of 2020, their families and the community from the spread of COVID-19.

A District team composed of educators, parents and students closely followed Ohio Department of Education guidelines in planning the ceremonies and provided as much activity as those guidelines allow. The plan also won required approval from the Cleveland Board of Public Health.

“While we held out hope that each of you would be able to ‘walk the walk’ you envisioned on your graduation day, health officials say it is still too risky to hold traditional gatherings, even small ones,” CEO Eric Gordon said in a letter to seniors and their families. (See the full letter and a video message here.)

“This decision may be confusing for some seniors and their families at a time when shopping centers, restaurants and businesses are being permitted to slowly reopen," he continued. "But guidance from the Ohio Department of Education outlines clearly what we can and cannot do to celebrate graduation in a way that is safe for our students, family and community during this public health crisis.”

The drive-up processions will be held June 16-24 outside East Professional Center, 1349 E. 79th St., or the campus of Max S. Hayes High School, 2211 W. 65th St. Seniors will receive their diplomas from their principals, a graduate yard sign and other keepsakes as their cars pass through. Principals will notify seniors of the time, date and location of the procession.

The virtual ceremonies will be televised on CW43 WUAB and will include a recorded address by CEO Gordon, speeches by class valedictorians and other students, honors recognition, the reading of names and a ceremonial “conferring” of diplomas by school board Chair Anne E. Bingham. The ceremonies will also be posted to the and CMSD websites and shared on social media.

The CEO committed to “finding a way in the future for the Class of 2020 to have your long-awaited walk across the stage. When it is safe to provide that milestone moment in your life, I look forward to ensuring you have the resounding applause you so deserve.”