Chairwoman of the Education Committee Carla Nelson sent a letter to Governor Walz saying she was “deeply disappointed” and asked him to allow graduation ceremonies.
Her letter gave examples of schools designing ways to celebrate their graduates. One of them was Rochester Public Schools Superintendant Michael Muñoz’s system where there would be many “mini graduation ceremonies” with strict social distancing. The ceremonies would each have 60 total guests and students and be cleaned afterward.
“This is a difficult time to be a student, particularly one who is about to graduate. I certainly share their frustration. I know the governor’s guidance is well-intended, but I also wonder if we can consider different approaches. One-size-fits-all is rarely effective in education; as former teachers, both the governor and I know this well. I would encourage Gov. Walz to allow schools of all sizes to be creative and figure out plans to hold ceremonies that work for their specific circumstances — while obviously prioritizing safety and strict social distancing,” said Senator Nelson in a statement.
Senator Nelson’s letter says that the schools care about the community and will do their best to keep children safe. She also wrote that the schools “deserve” a chance to use common sense and give the students their once in a lifetime opportunity.
The Lancaster Schools Superintendant sent a letter that included detailed plans, including the Minnesota Department of Health screening checklist, limited access to the graduation facility. “If given the chance, I am confident that every school in Minnesota would be able to come up with similarly creative ideas,” stated Senator Nelson in her letter.