MTSU, Rutherford County Schools to reschedule high school graduation ceremonies

Middle Tennessee State University and Rutherford County Schools jointly announced Friday that high school graduation ceremonies set for May in MTSU’s Murphy Center will be rescheduled later this summer — if public health guidelines permit — due to concerns stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Rutherford County Director of Schools Bill Spurlock cited in their decision the fluid nature of the COVID-19 crisis and changing public health recommendations on tactics to reduce spread of the virus.

Numerous public events across the state and nation that typically draw large crowds have been canceled or rescheduled out of concerns for public safety.

“We know well the importance of these ceremonies, and the disappointment that will come from this decision,” McPhee and Spurlock said in a joint statement. “But the health and safety of our students, employees and community must be our first priority.

“We will reschedule these ceremonies to take place as soon as conditions become more favorable for large-scale events.”

The precautionary move follows MTSU’s decision to cancel its Spring Commencement Exercises, which were set for May 8 and 9, and instead encourage its May graduates to march in the university’s Summer Commencement on Aug. 8; Winter Commencement on Dec. 12; or a future exercise of their choosing.

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