A question swirling around the state capitol in Lansing is one that many school districts, colleges, and universities are trying to address. And do so in a hurry. Are graduation ceremonies allowed or not?  The state’s controls over gatherings of people are not exactly spelled out in the easiest-to-understand methods. There’s really no easy reference document that says yes or no, whether large groups may get together based on specific criteria.

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Even the Michigan legislature is having a hard time with this one. The Republican-controlled state legislature is ready to finalize legislation that would cancel out the state’s order(s) restricting crowd sizes due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Associated Press is quoting Democratic State Senator Curtis Hertel as saying no one is trying to prevent commencements. He calls the legislative effort, “utter nonsense”.

But when you look at the state’s control orders and try to balance new changes against the original orders, it still appears that there are a number of strict rules about how many people can gather at an indoor event, based in part on the seating capacity of the venue.

That is more than enough, say, conservative lawmakers, to cut through the haze and simply say the state has gone far enough trying to restrict the lives of Michigan residents.  They say almost every school district has a packed house for commencements and restricting attendance is not necessary and is wrong.

Oakland County Republican State Senator Jim Runestad is a sponsor of the legislation. He says, “Most local school boards have done a good job of mitigating the risk of COVID. We should trust them to safely manage their own graduations. Runestad says the risk of the virus being spread indoors is now very low. The Senator and many of his colleagues in the legislature agree that families and graduating students are owed, “this last irreplaceable high school memory.”

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