Some elected officials are putting pressure on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow the class of 2020 to have in-person graduations amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
A group of 22 politicians sent a letter to Cuomo, who has been ardent in curtailing gatherings of groups of more than 10 as the state slowly begins recovering from the outbreak and reopening local economies.
Earlier this year, Cuomo announced that schools statewide would practice distance learning through the end of the academic year, with most high school graduations being postponed or canceled.
The politicians praised Cuomo’s guidance through the outbreak, though encouraged him to allow districts to hold in-person graduations.
“Thank you for your strong, science-based leadership through this very challenging time,” their letter said. “You have led us to this moment of new opportunity, and we are deeply grateful.
“Now as the state moves forward on reopening and residents embrace new circumstances regarding social gatherings, we believe New York State can find a way to allow our high school seniors to participate in graduation ceremonies outdoors and in-person.”
According to the politicians, if the state continues steadily recovering, graduation ceremonies could be held outside in July, while still maintaining social distancing and following the guidelines set forth by the state Department of Health and CDC.
They noted that in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy has given the green light for schools to move forward with graduation ceremonies.
“The high school graduating class of 2020 should be permitted to embrace their achievements, celebrate their successes, and be fully recognized as they embark on the next chapter of their lives,” they said.
“The relationships students have developed with their schools, teachers, and peers will forever be grounded in their hearts and we know you share with us a commitment to find a way for them to celebrate their final high school moment in a traditional, ceremonious manner.”
On Facebook, State Sen. Todd Kaminsky posted: "Our high school Class of 2020 deserves a real graduation, and I believe there is a way to do it safely this summer. NJ just announced this today. Let's all work together to make it happen."
Kaminsky, a Democrat, represents District 9 (Long Island's South Shore).
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