Outdoor graduation ceremonies moved to July

DAVISON — Three Davison High School Class of 2020 graduation ceremonies planned for June 27-28 were cancelled last week and rescheduled for July after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer did not move the state tp phase 5 of her COVID-19 reopening plan.

Davison Superintendent Kevin Brown sent out a letter to parents last week informing them that three social distancing ceremonies planned at Cardinal Stadium, two on June 28 and an evening ceremony June 29, would not happen as planned.

“Gov. Whitmer announced that she is NOT moving the state to phase 5 of her ‘Safe Start’ plan for Michigan this week,” said Brown in his correspondence. “This means that it is a misdemeanor for crowds of more than 100 people to gather outdoors.”

The graduation ceremonies were planned in anticipation that Whitmer would move to phase 5 last week. The district had planned a ceremony at 11 a.m. Sunday for 104 students; another at 2 p.m. for 118 students; and one Monday at 7 p.m. for 120 students.

The goal, Brown said, was to keep crowds to less than 500 people, so it would have been spread out over the three periods.

At the Davison Board of Education meeting June 22, prior to the cancellation, Brown praised DHS Principal Ron Jacobs for putting together a good plan.

“It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, these are scaled down ceremonies,” said Brown. “It’s a really nice way to recognize our seniors.”

He said the school’s television station, DTV, also produced a nice virtual graduation which will be provided to each graduate on a flash drive so they can keep it.

In the letter to parents, Brown apologized for the inconvenience.

“I realize this will not be a popular decision,” he said, “but after consulting with eh district’s legal counsel, there is simply no way the district can knowingly violate the law.”

The ceremonies have tentatively been rescheduled. Students who were to graduate at the 11 a.m. ceremony June 28 will not graduate at 11 a.m. July 12. Those signed up for the 2 p.m. ceremony will graduate at 2 p.m. on July 12. Those scheduled for the 7 p.m. June 29 ceremony with now graduate at 7 p.m. July 13.

Davison schools, like all other school districts in the state, are still waiting on the state to clear up several issues related to COVID-19 and how it will affect students returning to school in the fall.

Funding is one issue that is still unclear for all public schools. Currently, Davison is projecting a $600 per pupil shortfall in state aid this fall.

Brown also said the district is waiting to see what the governor says about her road map for returning to school, which was scheduled to be released June 30. Details of that plan were not available at press time.

“We’re guardingly optimistic about getting the kids back in the fall,” said Brown. “It is important to get our kids back to school – we need our kids, and they need us.”