It will be a summertime graduation for Olentangy Schools’ class of 2020.

The district officially has moved its four commencement ceremonies to July 19 at the Schottenstein Center.

The ceremonies would be held on the same schedule as had been set for the originally scheduled date of May 17, according to district spokeswoman Krista Davis.

Olentangy Liberty would be at 9 a.m., followed by Orange at noon, Berlin at 3 p.m. and Olentangy at 6 p.m.

A letter sent out last week to the district’s seniors and their families said the decision was made after Gov. Mike DeWine’s decision to close all Ohio schools through the end of the school year.

The district previously had secured the July date as a backup in the event that May graduation proved unworkable.

“We believe the original May graduation date is simply too close to that end of the school year time frame and therefore are moving forward with plans for a July graduation and will continue to monitor conditions and the impact of a gathering of this size,” read the letter, signed by Superintendent Mark Raiff and the principals of the district’s four high schools.

The letter acknowledged seniors’ “range of emotions – anger, disappointment, sadness, even fear. We feel those emotions with and for you, too. Remember, this pandemic does not define the class of 2020. The impact, experiences and memories of the past 13 years cannot be taken away.”

The letter said district leaders remain hopeful that they will be able to fully celebrate the graduating class in July.

“We recognize this may not work for every single senior and every single family,” the letter said. “However, in this time of change and uncertainty we will do our very best to recognize and remember all the class of 2020 has to offer our world in every way possible.”

“We are working hard to do everything possible to ensure the great class of 2020 is recognized in the manner in which they deserve,” Raiff said.

Olivia Dieckmann, a senior at Olentangy Orange High School, said she was glad the district had a backup plan.

“I’m relieved and happy that the district has put something together for the class of 2020, rather than just canceling the ceremony,” she said.

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