It's Time Governor Murphy

Governor, it's time. It's time to step up and out of the box. It's time to be bold but more importantly it's time to be empathetic, sensitive and reasonable. There has been much talk about listening to the data and science and about letting the data and science guide us through this public health crisis. Well, it's time to really listen.

If you listen very closely, we're being told that COVID-19 is not a threat to our school-aged children. The data and science is telling us the vulnerable population, that is the people who are at the highest risk of being infected and who are most at risk of developing severe or lethal illness, is not our children. Based on the data and science, our children are typically considered the less vulnerable population.

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In the emerging panic of this pandemic all schools have been closed and the lives of our children -- from preschool to college -- have been turned inside out and upside down. No one has been left untouched by this crisis. For our high school seniors, the damage incurred during the past 2 months cannot be undone. But you as Governor are in a position to effectively save their senior year by granting high school seniors across the state the opportunity to hold in-person graduation ceremonies. Not a virtual ceremony, but one attended by all the graduates, held outdoors with emphasis on all the necessary and proper strategies of precaution including the mandatory use of masks and the marching in and sitting 6-10 feet apart with no audiences but live-streamed to family and friends. It can be a brief ceremony but one that allows the students for the last time to be together as classmates. I cannot be the only person who believes there is absolutely no scientific or justifiable reason why this cannot happen.

Finally, some thoughts about the hypocrisy surrounding the reopening of our state:

  • Apparently, it's ok to patiently wait and stand in line for an hour around the street with masks on and 6 feet apart in order to shop at Trader Joe's, but we can't have a brief outdoor graduation ceremony?
  • And what about Home Depot? Evidently, we can stand outside with masks on and standing 6 feet apart waiting to get in and shop with multitudes of people, but we can't have a brief outdoor graduation ceremony?
  • And it's ok to be a customer at ShopRite -- that is unless you can find a parking spot because of the crowds of people shopping there -- but we can't have a brief outdoor graduation ceremony?
  • As more and more restrictions are being lifted the most hypocritical and absolutely mind boggling is that we can now go to the beach, yet we can't have an outdoor graduation ceremony?

Really Governor? Is there really any difference between having a brief graduation ceremony and any of the above ?

It's time, Governor. It's time to demonstrate an understanding to our wonderful and well-deserving high school seniors. In the name of science and fairness, grant them this opportunity.

Mark Wolman
Scotch Plains, NJ