Allow Staten Island students to have outdoor graduation ceremonies, city official says –

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Members of the Class of 2020 should be allowed to graduate at outdoor ceremonies similar to their New Jersey counterparts, a city councilman says.

In a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Minority Leader Steven Matteo asked that he consider following the lead of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who announced that schools in the Garden State will be allowed to hold outdoor ceremonies beginning July 6 provided they comply with appropriate social distancing rules due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

As you know, the lives of our children have been upended, Matteo wrote. "Those who are in the Class of 2020 did not have the opportunity to participate in many of the rites of passage experienced by graduates for many decades, including attending their proms with their friends and a full in-person graduation ceremony."

Governor Murphys plan is rational, safe, and recognizes the unique position the Class of 2020 finds themselves in through no fault of their own, he added.

On behalf of the Class of 2020, I ask that you implement a plans similar to the one announced by Governor Murphy. Lets give the Class of 2020 a chance to celebrate together in a safe, socially distanced way.

New York City schools have been closed since March 16 as a result of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with all schools statewide closed since March 18.

Initially, city schools were slated to be closed until at least April 20. Several extensions were enacted at the state level before Cuomo officially announced May 1 that they would remain closed for the rest of the academic year with remote learning set to continue, shattering many graduates hopes of being together one final time.

Some schools across the borough have handed out lawn signs to acknowledge their graduates.

While there has not been a final deicision about if and when schools might be able to hold commencement ceremonies in New York state, many have opted for virtual graduations.

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Allow Staten Island students to have outdoor graduation ceremonies, city official says -

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