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Martin Ferry Schools Planning for Graduation

Photo by Robert A. DeFrank Martins Ferry City Schools Board of Education member Brian McFarland and others on Zoom listen this week to reports on how to hold upcoming graduation ceremonies.

The Martins Ferry City Schools District is preparing for the close of the school year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During Tuesday’s Zoom conference meeting, Superintendent Jim Fogle reported on graduation and end-of-year activities.

He said dates will be set for blizzard bags and textbook drop-offs for students, and for picking up personal belongings at the school. He said students and families will be notified through the website and calling system and through the district’s social media accounts.

“There’ll be designated areas for each building. There’s going to be a schedule that will spell out when your time (is) to drop those textbooks and blizzard bags off. We ask that parents and students follow that schedule. We also ask that you remain in your vehicle when you pull up to that designated area.”

Fogle said elementary and high school students would be able to stop by Monday, and middle schoolers May 29.

The subject of graduation ceremonies also came up.

“I’m still hoping, as everyone in this meeting is, that with the way they are opening up our economy, and as far as businesses and some of those restrictions that are being lifted, hopefully large-group gatherings at some point are revised or even lifted,” Fogle said. “We are hoping to move forward with a traditional graduation ceremony, but at this time that’s not doable.”

He said the Ohio Department of Education has recommended ceremonies approved by the health department. Graduation committee members intend to hold an in-person ceremony with one graduate and two parents or guardians at one time.

“This will take some time, but we feel that it will be more like a traditional ceremony,” Fogle said.

Fogle said if restrictions are lifted in the next few months, the district will have an additional ceremony.

“Everything they’ve been through, our graduates, they deserve everything we can do for them,” Fogle said.

He said there are 106 graduates this year, and the district hopes to host graduation over a weekend in the coming weeks.

Fogle also updated the board of education on roof replacement progress. The majority of workers have been shifted to the elementary school building, where they are installing the decorative ribs. At the high school, they continue to install snow bars and ice guards.

“Their estimated date for substantial completion is June 7,” he said.

In addition, Fogle reported the Ohio Department of Education compliance team has deemed the district’s Career Pathways courses 100 percent compliant in the areas of technical skill attainment, participation rate, and post-program placement. These include classes such as editing, digital imaging, interactive media and information technology, and students pass assessments afterward. He commended the instructors for their work.

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