CALIFORNIA—During a virtual town hall livestream on Saturday, May 16, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer discussed drive-in graduations, which are not allowed.

The conversation began when an attendee asked “Why can’t we have drive-thru graduations?” Ferrer and Kuehl discussed the topic the day before. Ferrer noted that the question was extremely important as seniors, and students at other grade levels, prepare to “get the recognition they deserve for their accomplishments.”

She stated that drive-in graduations (which are becoming popular) violate COVID-19-related health orders.

“I think it’s unfortunate that this is happening during the pandemic, because we are asking that all graduations be virtual only. Our health officer order prohibits, as does the state, any events from happening. And even those sort of car drive-in graduations that folks would like to have are considered events, so for right now there can be nothing except for a virtual graduation,” said Ferrer. 

“You know we’re hoping that later on, perhaps later in the summer, there could be delayed graduations that would offer a different kind of experience and opportunity, but with our need right now not to have events, not to have crowds gather, we’re going to ask the seniors and their families to celebrate this really important milestone in a different way, which is virtually.”

She also reiterated her support for those graduating and expressed her hope for a more positive situation in the future. 

“All of us are saluting you. I was so glad to see that President Obama was holding a virtual graduation this evening – I hope many people will participate,” Ferrer mentioned. “And again, you know, we do all salute our graduates, and we know that on the other side we get to give you all our hugs and a more personal touch on the graduation, but for now, I hope our words help you during this difficult time when we can’t have the kinds of celebrations we wish we could.”

Kuehl responded by saying that she thinks the real question is “if we all stay in our car, why can’t we have a little parade?” She referenced an example of several people driving by and waving at a child who was hosting a small yard party, and how no one exited their vehicles.

Kuehl answered her  question, stating that “from my point of view, when you’re talking about a graduation, you’re not talking about one kid, you’re talking about all the families of all the kids.”

She added that she believes that “safe better than sorry” is the basic rule for this month. Ferrer agreed that all of the restrictions would probably only remain the way they currently are “for this month,” and claimed that “there may be opportunities for delayed graduations that look very different later on in the year.”