It could be followed by something more substantial if social distancing is eased.

On the same day they green-lighted planning for a potential 2020 Crookston High School Prom that would be held in July if social distancing allows it, the Crookston School Board also discussed commencement options for the graduating CHS seniors.

With Gov. Tim Walz recently announcing that distance learning will continue through the end of the 2019-20 school year, Superintendent Jeremy Olson stressed that it seems highly unlikely that the traditional commencement ceremony in the CHS gymnasium, scheduled for Friday, May 22, will occur in a fashion that allows hundreds of people to gather in a single room.

“We need to be really clear on graduation,” Olson explained. “People are saying they’d oppose a ceremony that would not be here in person. But under the governor’s order, a drive-through graduation would be allowed, and a physical one would not. We have to plan for ‘A’ and we have to plan for ‘B.’ There are only gatherings of up to 10 allowed now; I’m not sure where we’ll be on May 22. 

“We want it to be a quality ceremony, but we might have to move the date. We currently don’t have a choice on a lot of these matters and we aren’t going to break the governor’s order,” the superintendent continued. “We have to do what’s responsible and safe, whatever we do. Our preference is for a physical graduation, to give kids a good ceremony, the full experience.”

While there appears to be an undercurrent of opposition to any kind of commencement ceremony strapped with a “drive-through” label, CHS Principal Eric Bubna said it’s possible that at least an initial commencement event will “feel a little gimmicky,” but will be better than not acknowledging the graduating seniors at all, on schedule.

“We’re committed to doing some kind of ceremony in some fashion, with an event, a parade, a drive-up…something,” Bubna said. “If May 22 doesn’t work, we’d do something later, whenever we can have it.”