Dear TSA Community-
We know the topic of a virtual graduation has been weighing heavily on the minds of all of our seniors, parents, faculty, and staff. We wanted to spend a little more time reinforcing the necessity of this decision, as well as outlining our plans moving forward to celebrate these unbelievably deserving students.
The decision for the virtual graduation is based solely on the information we have available now. This is a direction that has been recommended by the Director of the Ohio Department of Health, Governor, and Ohio Department of Education, and is what we have chosen to follow. The Governor just today reiterated a continuation of the stay-at-home order and restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people.
That being said, when changes to the state guidelines make it more appropriate to congregate, we will begin thinking about planning an in-person ceremony that can provide a proper send off for these deserving seniors. Whether that time is during the summer, winter, or even an event next spring- all options will be on the table. A virtual graduation allows us to make sure we could provide something to these students until it becomes safe to have large gatherings once more.
We appreciate all the ideas and suggestions that you have sent- We love being part of a community that is passionate about its members!
Better days are ahead!
Doug Mead, TSA Director
Lou Ramirez, TSA Board President
Dear TSA Community-
I know there has been a great deal of discussion regarding graduation, so I wanted to take a minute to discuss our plans, and our rationale as to why we are moving in this direction.
First, we will be holding a graduation ceremony. The event, however, will be held virtually and not in-person. The event will take place on June 13th with more information to come as we begin planning. The reason for the new date is, while we were still holding out hope for an in-person ceremony this was a date the Valentine agreed to hold for us. I can promise you, however, that we will be working incredibly hard to produce a high quality video that is as personalized as possible.
Everyone associated with TSA recognizes this is less than ideal. Our seniors deserve better than a virtual graduation. They have earned that. We also understand this is one of several once-in-a-lifetime events they will not get to experience and for that we are heart broken.
I wanted to share with you guidance we received from the Ohio Department of Education just yesterday (4/23- see below) that outlines their preference that all public schools hold commencement ceremonies in a remote and virtual fashion. This state decision was made in order to protect the health and safety of all participants, including students, parents, family, friends, staff, and faculty.
It is possible that as the summer moves forward and into fall, these types of restrictions may begin allowing for an in-person experience. I am absolutely in favor of exploring these options and look forward to having these discussions with our new Class of 2020 Alumni members!
I appreciate your understanding with a situation that is highly disappointing for all of us. We will continue to provide information as it is made available.
The Ohio Department of Education has been fielding several questions about graduation ceremonies and other end-of-year recognition ceremonies for students. Educators, students and parents are questioning whether they should attempt to hold in-person events of this nature.
While we understand the significance, tradition and rites of passage many of these events represent, particularly for our seniors, schools should hold events virtually rather than conducting in-person events of this type, and record these events whenever possible and practicable. 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.
Governor DeWine, during his press conference on Monday, April 20, stated, “the gathering of significant numbers of people is a dangerous situation. Just as schools have been innovative in regard to how to teach from a distance, I know that they will be innovative as they look at how…they honor the students…” We are asking the education community to come together and honor our students, especially our seniors, in a manner that doesn’t pose health risks to anyone. Schools should continue to recognize the importance of restrictions on mass gatherings, and events should be aligned with the Ohio Department of Health’s Order.
Hosting in-person events can lead to many other negative consequences, including the following:
- With each change of venue and/or calendar delay (July or later graduation ceremony), there is no guarantee that large gatherings will be permitted, and there is a risk of fewer students actually participating due to other life plans such as beginning employment, attending college, military enlistment, etc.
- In-person events add to the complexity of asking students to comply with social distancing, as these events often are highly emotional, invoking natural physical responses (such as high fives and hugs).
- In-person events, even if only for participants, can lead to other people (family members, relatives, friends) wanting to physically attend, even though not permitted to do so.
- Pressure is unintentionally put on other high schools (principals, superintendents and board members) that have chosen to conduct events virtually rather than in person.
Therefore, school leaders should 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.
We hosted our first Virtual Town Hall meeting this afternoon. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. Below you will find a link of the screen capture from the meeting including the questions asked by parents, guardians, and students at the end.
If you have any problems with the video feel free to reach out to me.
Dear TSA Community-
While it comes as no surprise, Governor DeWine today announced that schools will remain closed for the rest of the year. In the meantime, virtual instruction will continue.
We will be conducting two Virtual Town Hall sessions to go over planning and logistics for the end of the year (such as student checkout, picking up items from lockers, decorating the senior stairwell, etc) as well as open the floor to any questions you may have.
We will be sending out access instructions and timing for the sessions in the next couple of days, as well as instructions on how to post questions. We will record and post the session on our website and update the FAQ to reflect what is discussed.
While expected, I know how devastating this is for our students, and especially our seniors, to have to miss all of the year-end events that are part of the TSA experience. I am so sorry this is how we have to end our year and I wish like crazy we were not in this situation!
I hope everyone has remained safe and healthy- we will see you all “virtually” very soon!