June 4, 2020
Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I -Corning) today sent a letter to the governor petitioning him to allow high school seniors across the state to experience the culmination of their high school careers- graduation.
Palmesano also signed on to a letter sent by his colleagues in the Assembly Republican Conference to the governor petitioning for the same thing- in-person graduations.
Palmesano cited declining COVID-19 infection rates, particularly Upstate, and his strong belief that education officials could collaborate with public health leaders to ensure safe ceremonies.
“As I said and you know well, these kids have sacrificed and lost so many of the final opportunities and experiences of their senior year in high school. Experiences like class trips, sports, club events, athletic signings for college, yearbook signings, their proms and end of year fun and get togethers. Governor Cuomo, they’ve missed out on enough. Don’t take their high school graduation ceremonies away from them too,” wrote Palmesano.
Today, the governor announced that he would allow drive-thru graduations. Palmesano said the proposal was inadequate. “Our kids deserve a better send-off than that,” said Palmesano. His letter concluded by encouraging the governor to promote perseverance and embrace the opportunity to honor the accomplishments of young graduates across the state. “Governor, through your actions, you have the opportunity to deliver a strong message of perseverance to our high school seniors. Allow our seniors to have graduation ceremonies, celebrate their accomplishments and bring much-needed closure to their high school careers. They deserve this. We owe it to them and we should make it happen for them,” wrote Palmesano.