Shortly after Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) called on his fellow Assembly members to allow high school students to graduate in-person alongside their peers Governor Cuomo said he will allowed commencement ceremonies outdoors beginning June 26.
Hawley stated that the former edict not to permit such ceremonies was “just one of the many gross misuses of executive power during the coronavirus crisis.”
Hawley argues that while solutions could have been discussed in the public setting and agreed upon by individuals, the governor has once again moved for a one-size-fits-all solution, which has been the greatest detractor of moving forward since this outbreak began.
“There exist plenty of solutions to holding a healthy and safe ceremony for our graduating high school classes, and I’m just as frustrated as the students are that the governor has once again decided to make a unilateral decision for an issue that can easily be brought into the public forum,” Hawley said. “With graduations oftentimes taking place outside, the social distancing parameters could have easily been met, which would not only satisfy the health-conscious concerns of the executive, but given the graduating students the send-off they deserve. It’s no small feat to complete 12 years of education, and these students deserve to have their time, energy, and success recognized and celebrated along with their peers and families.”
Cuomo is limiting such events to no more than 150 people with social distancing being required.
The Governor chose the date of June 26th because “It gives us a couple of weeks between now and then. God forbid the numbers change, but schools need to plan. With the progress we’ve made so far and if we continue this trajectory, we’ll be able to do that.”
Schools have been closed since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Classes shifted online as many schools used distance learning to help students finish their studies for the academic year.