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Minnesota graduations to move online, state blocks stadium, auditorium ceremonies

State education officials on Friday, May 8, rolled out guidelines for graduation ceremonies that barred in-person gatherings in football stadiums or auditoriums and recommended that school districts, colleges and universities host virtual events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidelines aren’t requirements and state education and health officials said enforcement would focus on education rather than punishment. They urged districts to prioritize options that could limit or prevent the gathering of students and families from different households.

The state recommendations came as K-12 school districts, colleges and universities around the state prepared to honor seniors and as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths associated with the disease continued to climb in Minnesota.

State Departments of Education, Health and Higher Education worked together to outline plans for commencement ceremonies that could maintain public health guidelines. Officials said they’d worked with individual districts prior to issuing the guidance and had not heard reports of schools planning to hold ceremonies that would violate the recommendations.

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