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Cleveland Metropolitan School District asking state to allow seniors to graduate even if school year isn't finished

Under the district's plan, all students who were on track for graduation at the end of the third quarter would receive their diploma.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

CLEVELAND — K-12 schools across Ohio are currently closed for at least the next two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, and could remain shut down even longer.

While Gov. Mike DeWine has said "learning should continue" for all students, nothing uniform has been put in place. That raises the question: What happens to high school seniors who were on track to graduate but may now not finish the school year?

If the Cleveland Metropolis School District has its way, all of those students will still get their diploma, even if the schools don't reopen before next fall. District CEO Eric Gordon say he is asking the Ohio General Assembly to allow every senior in the state to graduate, provided they were on track to do so at the end of the third quarter of the 2019-20 academic year.

"I promise that I will keep advocating for you in the days and weeks ahead," Gordon said in a statement posted on the CMSD Facebook page.

Gordon also promised that the Class of 2020 "will have a chance to walk across the stage" at a commencement ceremony, and did not rule out it taking place on May 16 at John Marshall High School as planned. In the meantime, Gordon is asking students to help make the case to the legislature by both filling out their FAFSA paperwork as well as their Say Yes to Education applications, even if they're not currently planning to attend college.

"My job right now is to make sure that you get your diploma," Gordon said. "Your job right now is to stay safe and healthy, so that when I do give you your diploma, you are prepared to make all of Cleveland proud."

CMSD students looking for more information on the FAFSA or Say Yes applications can find it on the district's website.

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