The State Health Department strongly advises high schools and colleges to have virtual graduation ceremonies this spring, although car parades or parking lot ceremonies might be possible if handled properly. The Health Department’s Susan Klammer says it’s difficult to ensure safety in traditional ceremonies during the COVID-19 pandemic, even if the graduates are spaced out. She points to “the number of people that are passing through the doorway or the gate to get into the field…. If you have a longer ceremony, what happens with the bathrooms? How are people cleaning in between the use of that space?”
And Klammer says beyond the logistics, “Ceremonies like this are emotional — even more so now, given the situation we’re in — which makes it very difficult for us to predict and account for attendees’ social behaviors.”
State officials say almost all colleges and universities in Minnesota have canceled traditional graduation ceremonies. Officials say they don’t know how long it might be until schools can do traditional ceremonies for the Class of 2020.