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L.A. County health officials warn against drive-in graduation celebrations

The staff and faculty of Cal State San Marcos celebrated the Class of 2020 with a parade on Friday in San Marcos. In Los Angeles County, public health officials have warned against gatherings, even when people remain in their cars.
(Jarrod Valliere/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

As students graduate in Los Angeles County, public health officials are warning against marking the milestone with drive-in celebrations.

“I think it’s unfortunate that this is happening during a pandemic because we are asking that all graduations be virtual only,” Barbara Ferrer, the county public health director, said Saturday during a Facebook Live chat with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

“Our health officer order prohibits, as does the state’s, any events from happening and even those car drive-in graduations that folks would like to have are considered events. So right now, there can be nothing but a virtual graduation.”

She said that officials hope that delayed graduations might be possible in some form later in the summer.

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In addition, they are working with superintendents on a plan for resuming classroom education in the fall.

Options include a hybrid model incorporating both distance and classroom learning, as well as cohorting plans that would see a group of students learn together as a unit but not mingle with other units within the same school, Ferrer said.

As researchers embark on another round of serology testing to detect antibodies to the coronavirus infection, she said, they also will be testing children to learn more about their role in spreading the virus.

“If children are going to be these asymptomatic vectors of the virus, then we have to make sure that the [classroom] environments are very safe and that we protect each other in those environments,” she said.


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