Graduation ceremonies for the Detroit Lakes High School Class of 2020 will be 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 28, the DL school board confirmed at its Monday night, May 11, work session.
The form which those ceremonies will take, however, is very much up in the air, due to concerns regarding the spread of the coronavirus.
Though district administration and board members had initially decided on holding the event at Mollberg Field, to stay in compliance with state and federal social distancing guidelines, a joint directive from the Minnesota Department of Education and Department of Health that was issued Friday, May 8, appears to have thrown a wrench into those plans.
State education department guidelines for graduation ceremonies bar in-person gatherings in football stadiums or auditoriums and recommended that high schools, colleges and universities host virtual events instead.
Board member April Thomas, however, is still holding out hope for the Mollberg Field option — though after sitting in on a conference call about statewide graduation ceremonies on Friday, she said, "If I'm being honest, it didn't sound like much would change in the next four to six weeks."
Board Chairwoman Amy Erickson said that the school district is moving forward with two plans: Plan A is the Mollberg Field option, and Plan B involves something a bit more "creative."
"The message we would like to send out is that as a school board members we care very much about your kids having some sort of real graduation experience, but we do have to go by the guidelines we’re given from the state," Erickson said.
Thomas noted that the district's graduation planning committee would be making a final decision on whether to move ahead with plan A or plan B no later than June 15, but that regardless of which option is chose, they were "holding strong" on the June 28 date.
In a statement Friday after the Department of Education's announcement, Detroit Lakes Superintendent Doug Froke said the new guidelines were "a collaborative effort between the Minnesota Department of Education and Department of Health, and I think the No. 1 thing to remember is that this is a health crisis — that's first and foremost. We have to keep that in our minds as we evaluate our options for graduation."
DLHS graduation was originally scheduled for May 17, but was postponed to June 28 due to the state's stay-at-home orders, which were extended to Monday, May 18.
The Detroit Lakes School Board's regular May meeting is 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 18. The meeting will once again be streamed live via the Detroit Lakes Public Schools Facebook page.