Seniors to graduate Sunday, in atypical fashion

School board struggles with decision to play it safe with commencement

By Per Peterson

Plan A was, of course, in the high school gym. Plan B was on the football field. Now it’s officially down to Plan C — the high school parking lot.

Sixty-seven seniors will graduate from Tracy Area High School on Sunday, in what will no doubt be the most non-traditional commencement ceremony in the history of the school. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional indoor event will be moved to the high school parking lot for a 2 p.m. ceremony, followed by a parade through town.

After a lengthy discussion with strong opinions on both sides, the District No. 2904 School Board voted Monday to hold a graduation ceremony in the parking lot under the guidance of the State of Minnesota and Gov. Tim Walz’s social distancing directives. On a roll call vote, the board voted 5-1 on a motion to proceed with commencement ceremonies that follow State guidelines, with Jay Fultz casting the dissenting vote.

“In this whole crazy world, we have to be careful of which wars we start,” board member Ben Ludeman said. “If you disagree with the guidance, the person we have to defy is Governor (Tim) Walz — that’s the point where this decision needs to be argued at, not here. We don’t have the right, as a public entity, to be defiant.”

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