As our miracle vaccines continue to crush Covid-19 into the dark places from which it came, we’re thrilled to see that among the measures of progress we’re marking up is the return of in-person high school graduations.
After all they’ve been through the last year and a half, that’s the least our graduating seniors deserve. Not only have they been deprived of a proper education — remote learning is barely learning at all for most — they’ve missed out on countless opportunities and rites of passage, whether it’s varsity athletics, afterschool programs, the prom or simple, casual socializing. At least they can get a modicum of that, and a chance to celebrate, with in-person graduations.
Not every high school is necessarily going to have one, as far as we know at press time. But we hope all will make every effort to do so if they haven’t already. Some plan a mix of virtual and live events, which is fine — many people are still skittish about public gatherings, even if they’re vaccinated, even if the events are held outside. We understand that and are glad that accommodations are being made for those who are not yet ready to be with other people. Changes to the way we’ve lived our lives since early 2020 have come fast and furious lately, and not everyone is as confident in the science and the dramatic drop in new cases as we are. That will change over time as Covid continues to be beaten into the dust by the vaccines and we keep moving down the road toward herd immunity. Of course we must remain vigilant for any resurgence, but there’s no sign of that now in the United States at least.
We would like to see the city and state immediately loosen their remaining restrictions on crowd size for outdoor graduations. Don’t forget, the science shows that the risk of catching Covid outdoors is so small it’s practically nonexistent. And the vaccinated have next to nothing to worry about. So there’s no reason for the city to limit outdoor graduation audiences to 500, or for the state to say those over 500 can only fill a venue to 33 percent capacity. If Citi Field can operate with no capacity limit, just distancing requirements for the unvaccinated, so too should any outdoor venue hosting a high school graduation.
Let the Class of 2021 celebrate! We’re free again.