LEWIS CENTER — Growing uncertainty surrounds school districts’ plans for high school graduation ceremonies next month as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to jeopardize the special day for seniors everywhere.
For the Olentangy Local School District (OLSD), there are additional complications when considering a potential rescheduling — securing an appropriate venue to accommodate the district’s four high schools. However, the district announced Tuesday it was able to lock down its preferred venue —the Schottenstein Center on the campus of The Ohio State University — for a later date should it be necessary.
OLSD graduation ceremonies are scheduled to be held in the Schottenstein Center on Sunday, May 17. If the ceremonies are forced to be rescheduled, the district has now secured the arena for Sunday, July 19, as a contingency plan.
“There were a lot of people who were worried that we would just cancel graduation and that certainly was never under our consideration,” OLSD Superintendent Mark Raiff said during the district’s virtual board of education meeting Wednesday. “We’ve been talking about a lot of different scenarios, and we’re really happy to at least have that date on the books.”
Before there is a graduation ceremony, students still have a school year to finish, albeit with uncertainty as to how they are being graded for their work. Raiff provided an update during the Wednesday meeting, saying, “We’re still working on our grading expectations and what we’ll end up with from a letter grades standpoint.”
Raiff went on to say of grades, “I think it is really important that we’re going to do everything possible to hold people harmless in this situation. We still have expectations that (students) continue to make an effort and learn, but we’re going to do everything possible to hold students harmless in terms of the impact on their grades.”
In other district news, OLSD has again shifted its food distribution service, moving to a once-a-week schedule where all meals for the entire week will be distributed at one time. The move, which went into effect Monday, is in an effort to continue minimizing exposure after a food service worker for the district began experiencing symptoms in line with COVID-19 last Friday.
All six locations — Glen Oak Elementary, Heritage Elementary, Liberty High School, Oak Creek Elementary, Olentangy Meadows Elementary, and Orange High School — will continue offering the service, which runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Delivery arrangements can still be made for families who cannot make it during the distribution timeframe.
Raiff said 10,350 meals were served on Monday alone, with 989 people receiving the meals via the pickup sites and district bus drivers delivering to 46 homes.
“Food service has just been killing it,” Raiff said of the district team’s effort. “They really have stepped up big to serve our families.”
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.