Hillsdale College to hold in-person graduation ceremony despite health concerns

Health officials worried about potential COVID-19 outbreak

Safety precautions put in place for Hillsdale college graduation ceremony

HILLSDALE, Mich. – There is controversy surrounding a graduation ceremony at Hillsdale College.

The collage is located south of Jackson, near the Ohio border. An in-person commencement is planned for this weekend, despite concerns from health officials.

The college said graduation is a moment that should be celebrated. The local health department is worried about a potential coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

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The public health department said while they applaud safety efforts the college has made, they don’t endorse the decision to hold the in-person commencement ceremony.

“They’re doing the best they can and we’re really excited to see our son walk across the stage. And I think everyone is being safe,” mother Sheri Travlos said.

The Travlos family traveled from north of Chicago to watch their son Michael graduate this weekend.

“I think they’ve done a good job,” she said. “We just walked over and saw it.”

Roughly 2,600 people are expected to attend the outdoor event on the football field. Everyone must have their temperature checked, wear a mask and sit six feet apart.

The commencement is being held Saturday, despite warnings from the health department.

“Concern is that folks will be in town that do not recognize that they have COVID-19 and are spreading it,” public health officer Rebecca Burns said.

READ: Here’s what Michigan school districts have planned for the fall amid the pandemic

The college said they worked with the local health department and four epidemiologist before moving ahead with commencement plans.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order currently limits gatherings to 100 people.

Attorney General Dana Nessel said an event of that size is prohibited by law. Still, the Travlos family said they support the college’s decision.

The Hillsdale County Sheriff said his department will not be enforcing the governor’s order.

About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.