X

Butler Tech and Fairfield cancel graduations, but Middletown still on for outdoor event

In May, Middletown High School graduates received their diplomas in a drive-by procedure that used coronavirus safe-distancing for the hand off to seniors in front of the school. School officials are now going to hold an in-person, but reduced crowd ceremony this Thursday outside at Barnitz Stadium. (Photo By Nick Graham/Journal-News)
In May, Middletown High School graduates received their diplomas in a drive-by procedure that used coronavirus safe-distancing for the hand off to seniors in front of the school. School officials are now going to hold an in-person, but reduced crowd ceremony this Thursday outside at Barnitz Stadium. (Photo By Nick Graham/Journal-News)

One of the largest career school systems in Ohio has announced it is abandoning its plans for an in-person graduation ceremony for thousands of high school seniors due to the coronavirus threat.

Butler Tech officials announced Monday the school is canceling its Aug. 3 ceremony at Xavier University’s Cintas Center in Cincinnati.

“The circumstances of this year have required many difficult decision to be made by Butler Tech leaders and educators across the globe, however the most difficult is cancelling the Senior Ceremony,” said Butler Tech officials in released statement.

“Unfortunately, due to the guidelines set forth for large group gatherings in Ohio - and the anticipated attendance of 4,000 to 6,000 graduates and guests, our event will exceed the current mass gathering ban and must be canceled.”

Fairfield Schools has announced it is cancelling is Aug.1 high school graduation ceremony scheduled for Aug. 1 at the Cintas Center. Kings Schools have also cancelled its previously planned commencement at Cintas, said Dawn Gould, spokeswoman for the district.

In June, Kings conducted a locally televised commencement ceremony. Fairfield distributed diplomas to seniors in a safe-distance process from May 26 through May 29 and held a virtual ceremony on June 6.

But Middletown Schools officials said their in-person, outdoors commencement for later this week is still on.

Butler Tech, which serves high schools in all public Butler County school systems and in Northwest Schools in northern Hamilton County, already held a drive-through graduation event in May.

Middletown School officials said they still plan to hold three outdoor high school graduations in Barnitz Stadium on Thursday with the first starting at 10 a.m.

Usually Middletown High School holds one commencement in the stadium but among its adjustments to lessen the spread of the coronavirus, this year officials said they will have three separate graduation ceremonies to reduce the crowds.

In May the high school conducted a virtual commencement ceremony online and handed out diplomas in a drive-through process in front of the high school.

Explore PHOTOS: Middletown graduates receive diplomas in drive-thru event

School officials are now also placing a number of restrictions in place at Barnitz Stadium to maintain safe social distancing, with a limitation on the number of family members allowed to attend. Graduates can bring up to eight guests.

The three ceremonies - each about two hours - will run consecutively started at 10 a.m. with the 360 graduating seniors divided alphabetically for each commencement event.

“Middletown High School is partnering with the Stratford Heights Church of God in Middletown to provide live televised streaming coverage of the entire event,” said officials.

A photography firm will be on site to take pictures as each graduate leaves the commencement stage.

“Graduates can take their mask off during this time,” said officials.