MENOMINEE — During Thursday’s Menominee Area Public Schools Board of Education meeting, High School Principal Mike Sweet talked about the upcoming graduation ceremony.

“I shared a letter with Mr. Mans (Superintendent John Mans) that I’m getting ready to send to seniors and to their parents just confirming that July 9 is our date for graduation,” Sweet said.

Counties in Michigan were divided into eight regions by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Economic Recovery Counsel as the state began looking to reopen, since not every area of the state was as affected by COVID-19 in the same way. Sweet said the Upper Peninsula is in zone eight, which he said means that 500 people can gather in an outdoor area as long as they adhere to distancing guidelines.

“So we’re fine, we can put people into the stadium without having to confine numbers of tickets for seniors, so we’re getting ready to make that happen,” he said.

“One question,” said Board President Ken Pulver, “Should we have a sign that says something like, ‘Everyone is welcome, but if you have some symptoms we request that you (not enter),’ or some kind of statement like that at the entrance to the stadium?”

“I’ll make sure that happens. It’s in the letter and I’ll make sure we have something posted,” Sweet said.

Sweet said that John Wills has agreed to be the announcer for the ceremony, and will also be playing the music for it.

“We’ll make sure that we do an announcement or a couple in there reminding people to adhere to those guidelines and be respectful of others. That’s the most concerning fact to me is when people don’t follow those directions. There’s not much you can do; you just have to keep reminding them to please do what’s appropriate,” he said.

“What we have to remember is that it’s about the students’ final high school memory, so we don’t want to go overboard, but we also want people to be respectful of everybody else,” Pulver said.

Sweet said that he would be including something in the letter for those who don’t feel comfortable attending. He said that, if any students aren’t comfortable with attending the ceremony, he would arrange for himself or Assistant Principal Drew Buyarski to do a private ceremony for them if they choose to.

“We did that for our graduating military seniors; we went to them and gave them their diplomas, so we will certainly do anything we can to meet those needs so they do get what they deserve,” he said.