Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all New York schools were shut down. In the beginning Governor, Andrew Cuomo announced schools would only be closed until April 20th. That decision was promptly changed by DiBlasio to schools being closed until May 15th, which can possibly change to the rest of the year as the number of people who tested positive grew.
Perhaps the students who were most affected are the current graduating High School seniors. Suddenly all traditional end of the year events, such as prom and graduation, were canceled. They were robbed of the last meeting with their teachers and having the last goodbye hug with friends.
“Like I said before, the safety of our health should be the number one priority at the moment. Also, to be honest, if school were to be open and prom would still take place, the majority of parents will not allow their children to attend mass gatherings during a pandemic. The complaint about the senior prom being canceled is normal because many people looked forward and planned for these events since middle school in fact. But the facts still stand, that if the events took place during this pandemic no one would benefit,” Moshopefoluwa Olowojolu, a current Edison senior, stated.
There is always a chance we can come back for these events, so when asked about this matter Sadman Murshid, senior at Edison, said, “I feel like that the school should refund the money for senior dues and prom and graduation since they won’t be happening, most likely. I mean there has to be a mood for everything. I mean I would come back, but it won’t be the same.”
The New York City Department of Education has passed new legislation in response to the current crisis. On April 7th New York City Department Of Education canceled all June 2020 Regents and Modification to diploma requirements as a result. Students will be able to obtain their diploma as long as they have earned sufficient credit for that class.
Districts and charter schools are allowed to exempt the requirement of passing the (Language Other Than English) LOTE Checkpoint B examination for any student who was intending to take the examination in June 2020 in order for the student to meet the requirements for an Advanced Regents diploma.
Graduating students who are unable to complete the requirements for the Career Development And Occupational Studies Commencement Credential or the CDOS +1 pathway as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and has demonstrated proficiency of the CDOS learning standards, may be granted a waiver from the completion of the 216 hours of Career and Technical Education (CTE) instruction and/or the 54 hours of work-based learning requirement.
In the case of the CTE Technical Endorsement, schools may exempt the student from the requirement of the three-part technical assessment for students scheduled to complete their technical studies and who have been successful in their coursework up to the point of the COVID-19 related school closures.
I got to know a little more about the matter from the principal, Mr. Ojeda. “We will be sending out a survey asking for students if they would like us to hold a prom in the Fall (September-November). We will also send a survey to families and students in regards to graduation. Depending on the number, we will either hold at Hofstra University or Edison in the auditorium. Therefore, we will be holding a commencement for the Class of 2020; it is just a matter of location.”
When asked about certification exams and colleges his response was brief. “We will be offering remote certification exams for some of the CTE programs. The CTE programs that require us to have access to our school, we will provide the certification exam in the Summer or Fall, depending on the guidance from the DOE.”
“Our college advisor has been in contact with some colleges, and they are aware that changes will be forthcoming due to the COVID-19 crises,” Mr. Ojeda said.
While students are having a hard time grappling with this situation, the internet is one factor influencing their view. Memes about the class of 2020 attending graduation in a zoom conference have become famous.
Several new trends have surfed, gaining a variety of responses. A recent trend is to post your yearbook picture in honor of the class of 2020. Notable names, such as Ellen DeGeneres, took part in the trend. This, however, seems to be putting salt on the wound rather than honoring the seniors as they are showing a memory the current seniors will not get to make. The whole thing was done in poor taste.
Teen Vogue has announced they will be holding a virtual prom on Zoom for the Class of 2020. Presented by AXE and OGX, the prom will be held on May 16th. The months leading up to the big day Teen Vogue will be producing prom related content on their social media platforms to prepare the students. The event will include DJ sets, customized playlist, and cameos from Emma Chamberlain and Storm Reid. In order to enter the nationwide event students can submit their high school name and the senior class will be invited.
With all that has been going on perhaps the internet is the best escape for these seniors. Thinking about event cancellations, diploma requirements, and college get to be too much, looking at a surprised Pikachu face titled “the face your teacher makes when someone drops the F-word in the middle of zoom conference,” will surely make your day a little better.