Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – Parents and community leaders in Logan, a small town in eastern New Mexico, had hoped to celebrate their 22 graduating seniors this summer with an outdoor ceremony on a football field – a tribute to their resilience amid a deadly pandemic.
But the school district says it was forced to scrap the plan after the state Department of Health threatened an “exorbitant” fine for violating New Mexico’s ban on mass gatherings. The district calculated the potential penalty at $1.75 million, or $5,000 for each person, if the crowd had reached 350.
State officials, in turn, say they notified school districts six weeks ago that any graduation ceremony had to comply with public health orders aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease that has killed 497 residents so far.