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Owen Manthe, 18, (gold cord) watches the graduation ceremony at Grace Church in Eden Prairie. 

On Monday, District 112 sent out communication to families of a plan to hold graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020 on July 25 spread out on the turf at respective football stadiums in Chanhassen and Chaska.

On Friday, the Minnesota Department of Education, Office of Higher Education and Minnesota Department of Health released guidance for schools regarding graduation ceremonies. This guidance was developed jointly between the three departments and outlines some specific activities that schools should or should not do.

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 health and safety of our students and their families will always be our top priority," said Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker. "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. The class of 2020 persisted in their education through this unprecedented and uncertain time with a school experience that was difficult to navigate. I am proud of these students, I am inspired by these students, and I congratulate them on never giving up and reaching this major milestone."

For Eastern Carver County Schools, at this point, it is back to the drawing table.

Obviously this is disappointing for our seniors and our community. Thankfully we have already been working on a virtual ceremony, and will do everything we can to honor our seniors through that process," said Celi Haga, Director of Communications and Community Relations for ECCS. "Their resilience through all of this and their ongoing support of their schools, teachers, and each other has been inspiring. I can’t wait to see what they do next."

The guidance is available on the Minnesota Department of Education’s COVID-19 Updates web page.

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