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Schmitt Urges Cuomo To Lift 150-Person Limit On Grad Ceremonies


Washingtonville, NY — (06/19/20) Assemblyman Colin J. Schmitt (R,C,I-New Windsor) and local education leaders today sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo urging him to lift the cap of 150 participants for outdoor socially distant graduation ceremonies. 

The Assemblyman has successfully led the charge to allow in-person socially distant graduation ceremonies for New York students by advocating to the Governor and organizing a petition drive that has garnered over 5,000 signatures to authorize these ceremonies. Now the limit of 150 individuals per ceremony can and must be lifted, especially for our larger graduating classes. 

The following education local education leaders have signed on to the letter with Assemblyman Schmitt: 

Elsie Rodriguez, Superintendent, Monroe-Woodbury School District

Richard Del Moro, Superintendent, Enlarged City School District of Middletown

John P. Xanthis, Superintendent, Valley Central School District

Jan Jehring, Superintendent, Florida Union Free S.D & Board of Education 

Denis M. Petrilak, Superintendent, Chester Union Free School District

Brian C. Monahan, Superintendent, Minisink Valley School District

Jon Huberth, President, Monroe-Woodbury Board of Education

Janice Clark, Principal, John S. Burke Catholic High School 

Assemblyman Colin J. Schmitt stated, “The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted life for many New Yorkers, especially our students. While it is welcome news that in-person ceremonies can be authorized the 150 person per ceremony limit impacts many larger districts ability to host a single ceremony. Districts have the ability to safely, following all health protocols, host larger socially distance outdoor ceremonies. We urge the Governor to immediately lift the limit so schools have adequate time to implement safe procedures for single ceremony in-person celebrations.”

Full text of letter:

Dear Governor Cuomo:

The COVID-19 crisis has certainly impacted all of us in profound ways, especially our students who have lost out on traditional opportunities and experiences that have become the hallmark of American life. The ability to have the most traditional experience possible for graduation means so much to the students, families and communities who look forward to celebrating this significant milestone. 

We have so many students from across the Mid-Hudson region and across the state who are deserving of special recognition for their achievements. That is why the authorization of outdoor in-person socially distant summertime graduation ceremonies is greatly appreciated. 

While the in-person ceremony authorization is warmly welcomed, the cap you placed of 150 participants has limited many districts with much larger class sizes from holding a single ceremony. 

Many districts have the ability to safely, following all health protocols, host larger socially distance outdoor ceremonies. 

We request that you lift the cap on the number of graduates for those schools with the ability and space to accommodate properly socially distant outdoor ceremonies. 

Your immediate attention to this matter is greatly appreciated as timing and planning considerations must be taken into account. 

Colin J. Schmitt
Assemblyman 99th District

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