Graduation plans for this year were announced, and a new student handbook that does not permit cell phone use during schools hours next year was approved during Monday’s Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education meeting.
The graduation ceremony will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 26 at the Hillsboro High School soccer field. The rain date is 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 28.
Some of the graduation details include:
* Graduation practice will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 25 at the soccer field.
* Each student will be permitted to bring only five guests with them to graduation.
* Each graduate and their guests will have a designated area with six chairs on the soccer field. Graduates and guests will be seated together, and will be arranged in alphabetical order.
* Spectators will not be permitted to sit in the bleachers.
* The ceremony will be live-streamed for those that are not able to attend due to the attendance restrictions.
* The school is asking that everyone not mingle stay in their cars until 6:45 p.m, when the graduates and their guests will start being seated on the field. The entire party has to be present to be seated. The graduate and their party is asked to drive together if possible. There will be school staff helping monitor social distancing as families enter and exit the field.
* A stage will be set up in the high jump area on the south end of the soccer/track complex. Graduates will be introduced and then proceed to the stage area to receive their diploma.
“We’re trying to get in done in about an hour,” Davis said.
Following the ceremony, he said the school is asking the community to line the sides of South High Street around 8:30 p.m. to show support for the graduates.
“It has been a very difficult senior year and we are excited to be able to provide this,” Davis said.
In a separate matter, the school board approved a new student handbook that disallows the use of cell phones during school hours next year.
“We just feel the use of a cell phone doesn’t have an educational purpose when every kid has a Chromebook,” Davis said.
He said students can still carry a cell phone while in school, but it will have to be turned off during the school day. He said students will be given a warning if they are on their phones, and that phones could be confiscated at the discretion of teachers and principles. If phones are confiscated, they will be locked in storage in the school office. Parents will be permitted to pick the phones up at the school.
The superintendent said he has been in meetings with Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner and the county’s other superintendents about what the school year will look like in the fall. Currently, he said, the school is looking at three options for the start of the year.
The first option is to start school as was originally planned on Aug. 12. Option two is starting school the Monday after the Highland County Fair on Sept. 14. The third option is to start school on Sept. 14 with possible restrictions.
“It’s a lot of planning for things that may or may not be in place,” Davis said. “… At this point … we don’t have anything that says we are going to do this or this because we don’t know.”
He said there are still many things to be determined like how many students might be allowed on a bus and whether or not students will have to wear masks. Kids will likely have to wash their hands often, and will not be able to do things like borrow a pencil from the teacher’s desk.
The hope, Davis said, is to have a schedule in place by the next regular school board meeting on July 20 to give parents and the community time to plan.
He said there has been no word on whether state-mandated tests will be required next year.
On a positive note, Davis said that while the Ohio High School Athletic Association has not made any decision to date, it is optimistic that there will be fall sports.
Since schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, Davis said that through May 29, the school’s Tomahawk food truck served 49,766 meals. The food truck is continuing to operate through the summer with stops at eight different locations.
Progress continues on the new auditorium at the high school/middle school. About 90 percent of the masonry work is complete, and the schedule at this time has the auditorium being ready for use in mid to late December.
Davis said the district has received a report on Everetts Way, a new road that will connect the high school/middle school campus to SR 247. He said the Ohio Department of Transportation said everything looks good and that the district is currently waiting to see if a traffic light will be necessary on SR 247.
All the districts buses have been inspected and are ready whenever school starts, Davis said.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.