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Minnesota urging virtual graduations, regular ceremonies not allowed

The Minnesota Departments of Health and Education and Office of Higher Education released guidelines for graduation ceremonies. They are encouraging virtual events but also offered guidelines for events involving vehicle.

Pool photos - 042320 - Ricker
Minnesota Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker speaks during a news conference concerning the state's efforts against the new coronavirus, Thursday, April 23, 2020, in St. Paul, Minn. Aaron Lavinsky / Pool photo

ST. PAUL β€” The Minnesota Departments of Health and Education and Office of Higher Education are encouraging Minnesota high schools and post-secondary institutions to hold virtual graduations this spring, and reminding them that indoor ceremonies and those held outdoors in stadiums or football fields are not permitted.

The departments issued guidelines for spring graduations Friday.

The top recommendation is for schools to hold a ceremony that can be conducted remotely and ensure attendees do not need to leave their homes, like a virtual ceremony. While the guidelines do not allow for a gymnasium or football field gathering, it does provide public health guidance on what schools, colleges or universities would need to consider when contemplating a safe celebration outside of the home, such as a car parade or a parking lot ceremony, the two departments and the Office of Higher Education stated in a news release.

For events involving vehicles, the guidelines recommend that each household remain in a separate vehicle and they should only park near each other if the windows are kept up. If attendees are in cars with windows down, cars should park 6 feet apart.

Schools are advised to provide clear messaging that individuals may not walk to the ceremony or participate outside of vehicles. There should be no food or beverages, and no passing of objects or physical contact between households.

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"The health and safety of our students and their families will always be our top priority," said Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker in announcing the guidelines. "This year's graduation ceremonies will look different than they traditionally do, and I am confident our schools will find creative ways to recognize the incredible work and commitment of our graduating students.”

Watch wctrib.com for more on this topic later today.

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