The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released a “guidance document” directing all schools to cancel indoor and outdoor graduation ceremonies amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
“The safest way to observe graduation/commencement is for everyone to stay home. Indoor graduations and ceremonies held outside in stadiums and footballs fields are not permitted,” MDE said in the new directive, which was made public Thursday. “Remember that COVID19 is a highly contagious virus that is fatal,” the agency adds. (RELATED: Over 99% Of COVID Deaths In MN Related To Nursing Homes, Underlying Conditions)
“In-person social gatherings with people from multiple households, even in situations where ample space between attendees could be accommodated, does not comply with social distancing practices,” and are to be canceled, per the MDE.
The state’s “top recommendation” to schools is that they host a virtual graduation, however event organizers are reminded to “keep equity in mind so all students and families can participate.”
The only type of in-person graduation celebrations that are permitted are “parking lot ceremony[s]” or “parade[s]” that may only occur if the attendees stay in their “cars with the windows up for the entity of the ceremony.” Schools hosting these kinds of events are also directed to “partner with local public safety officials,” refrain from providing restrooms and limit the number of speakers allowed to address the crowd.
According to the standards set by this newly released document, private parties to celebrate graduations hosted by students’ families also appear to be banned, as they would not “comply with social distancing practices.” However, no specific mention of private parties is made.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has also discourage the gathering of people from different households. Epidemiologist Susan Klammer who works for the MDH says such gatherings “not in the spirit” of the stay-at-home order, according to the Star Tribune.