No Handshakes For Bloomington Grads : Shots - Health News Two Minnesota high schools institute a "no-hand-shake" rule at commencement.

No Handshakes For Bloomington Grads

Too much skin for some flu-scared high schools / hide caption

toggle caption

Grads at two high schools in Bloomington, MN will sit side by side at commencement ceremonies this week to hear speeches, toss mortarboards, and walk away with diplomas. But forget the photo-op handshake afterward from the principal or anybody else.

With two confirmed cases of swine flu in the district, school officials are taking a new approach to commencement, the district's Rick Kaufman told the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "We're just going to do sort of a head nod and a verbal 'congratulations' to students."

Most StarTrib readers weren't impressed. One scoffed in comments to the online story:

Just what kids these days need, less interaction. Are we going to "Tweet" them a congrats or Txt them "OMG Gr8 job!" Toughen up...

Meanwhile, New York City, which temporarily closed several schools this month and last because of multiple confirmed H1N1 cases (all are open again now), has no such plans to alter any graduation, a spokesperson said when I called.

The Minneapolis measures also go significantly further than guidance from the CDC, which essentially suggests that grads, glowing parents, principals, and anyone else who feels sick stay home. The CDC also endorses frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizer at such events, and discourages coughing or sneezing on one's neighbor.

Good advice for any grad.

For fun, check out NPR's alternative guide to greetings in the age of H1N1 here.