Maui mayor addresses confusion over protocols for in-person graduation ceremonies

Updated: Mar. 25, 2021 at 11:17 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui County is averaging 22 new cases a day and the average case count is up 20% in the past two weeks, but the county is still planning to hold in-person graduations come May.

The mayor clarified his plan for commencements on Thursday after some confusion among various agencies.

“I never said no to the family household members,” said Mayor Mike Victorino.

On Wednesday, Baldwin High School seniors got an email from school officials giving seniors an option to either have a drive-through diploma presentation with their families or a graduates-only ceremony.

“My daughter was just devastated,” said Kelly Gosselin, whose 17-year-old daughter is a senior at BHS. “She said, ‘Mom, we were going to have in-person graduation. Now we’re not getting that either.”

Last month, the Department of Education released guidelines saying graduates will be allowed to bring two members from their household to commencement.

However, parents of Baldwin High School seniors said the county parks department granted the permit to hold BHS’ graduation at War Memorial Stadium but without spectators per the mayor’s request.

The mayor said that was a rumor.

“That has all been corrected,” Victorino said. “We met, we’ve taken care of the problem. It was erroneous.”

The class of 2021 has endured a lot this year with remote learning, cancelled prom, organized sports and other large gatherings.

The Gosselins said they are hopeful. “It’s something. Obviously, our voices were semi heard. But we want it to be written in stone,” Gosselin said.

The mayor said he hopes the county will have a set plan by mid-April.

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