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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Health says a graduation ceremony that went against state guidelines may have spread COVID-19.

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As high school graduations get underway, health officials are reminding parents and seniors that guidelines are still in place.

Jordan Boeder, a senior at Maple Grove High School, can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’ve got some English stuff. I’ve got some government stuff I have to do,” Boeder said.

With just a week left of school, he’s closing out a bittersweet senior year.

“He’ll have a story to tell his grandkids about some day about how he graduated from high school,” his mother Maria Boeder said.

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Maple Grove is planning a drive-thru graduation ceremony at the high school on June 6. The state says parking lot ceremonies and car parades are allowed, but it’s recommended that people stay in their cars and keep their distance.

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Car parades have become textbook celebrations across the state this spring. What the Department of Health doesn’t want to see are traditional, large-gathering celebrations inside gymnasiums and on football fields. Director of infectious disease, Kris Ehresmann, said a recent graduation proves why.

“Someone who was part of the ceremony had COVID but didn’t know it and exposed people at the ceremony to the virus,” Ehresmann said.

Virtual graduation ceremonies are also encouraged.

“Virtual will be nice. If they don’t feel comfortable coming to our house, they can watch on TV as well,” Maria Boeder said.

For Jordan Boeder, it’s a lesson about dealing with things that are out of his control.

“Not fully being able to experience senior year, especially during the spring, a lot of accepting and coming to terms, I guess,” Jordan Boeder said.

“We’ll make the most of it. It’s still a celebration. It’s still a great accomplishment. We’re just really proud of him,” Maria Boeder said.

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Health officials are also recommending virtual graduations. Maple Grove is planning a virtual ceremony for later in July where seniors are encouraged to wear their caps and gowns.

John Lauritsen