Most West Michigan high schools won’t be moving commencements

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The announcement on capacity limit changes on June 1 comes as schools get ready for their graduations.

Many school districts in West Michigan have their senior commencements in May, and it looks like they’re sticking with the status quo.

“It’s almost like we’re being whipsawed back and forth,” said Michael Shibler, superintendent of Rockford Public Schools.

Rockford, Jenison and Holland public schools all say that they are sticking with the plan and will not be moving their commencements into June.

“This is far more difficult than just planning some party in somebody’s home,” said Shibler. “It takes a lot of planning to do it right. And we’ve done it right — last year, we proved that — and we’re going to do it right this time.”

Rockford’s drive-through commencement allows graduates to bring as many people as they want, and the district feels that is the best option.

“A lot of people put a lot of time into this and I’ve talked to parents who have said, ‘We’ve already invited family members to come. Are you going to change this now to June 1?'” he said. “They’ve got people flying in or driving to come, plans have been made.”

In Jenison, the commencement on May 27 is at a football stadium anyway, and the capacity change would be easy to adopt.

“When you have all these graduation ceremonies happening just a few days prior to June 1, it hurts,” said Tom TenBrink, superintendent at Jenison Public Schools.

Because of a difference of four days, its graduates will have to pick and choose which family members are able to attend.

“I’m just disappointed that somehow an arbitrary June 1 date was selected to allow for unlimited outside connections and for us not to be able to have that for our seniors,” said TenBrink. “I can’t tell you how disappointing that is.”

As for Grand Rapids Public Schools, the superintendent said it is working with the county and trying to expand the number of tickets graduates can have for their families.

It is hoping to have a plan early next week.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

More COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Top Stories On WOODTV.com

Know something newsworthy? Report It!