Hope and Joy for our young people - Graduation ceremonies and Formals

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We are writing to you today to express our disappointment with the decision to cancel year 12 graduation ceremonies, all school formals, including year 6, year 10 and year 12 and school camps for term 3, and review after 6 weeks for the following term.

These kids are with each other, at school, all day, every day.  They sit and eat crunch and sip, recess and lunch together. They do P.E sport together. They sit side-by-side with each other on the floor and at their desks. They are all jammed onto public buses like a pack of sardines due to lack of funding and still, no transmission. They even play team sports on weekends with kids from other schools all over their district, and there is little to no transmission whatsoever.

How are these kids suddenly at risk of virus spread by putting on a beautiful dress or suit and having a meal with the exact same kids that they are with day in and day out?

How are they more at risk of transmission by walking onto a stage to receive a certificate? 

Why do the same rules apply for inner Sydney and remote areas where there has never been a single case? This is inconsistent, contradictory, not fair and defies logic.  Is it that the school premises is this magic bubble that they are safe in?  If that is the case, why aren’t you allowing them to have their formal, or the ceremony or their school camp within the school grounds?  Why cant they have their ceremony on the school grounds with a different house group each day, where their parents can watch and applaud them, at the end of the school year?  These kids don't care where these functions are, they just want to put on their dress or their suit and have some fun with their friends.  Businesses all over the country are having to think outside the box in order to function, why cant your government think outside the box to allow our children to live their lives?

How are they able to be dancing in PE together and yet, with the exact same kids, can’t dance on a dance floor?  Can you see, like we can, how this isn’t rational? If these kids are all within the same social bubble, can you not allow them to participate in life to the fullest within these same social bubbles? 

But most importantly, we are deeply concerned about the escalating mental health and suicide rates, which we, strangely, are not hearing anything about from your government or our health associations. 

The HSC is a stressful time in any normal year... please do not take away any more joy and hope from these young people than they’ve already experienced!  Let them celebrate their graduation! Let them dress up and enjoy a nice dinner (and dance) with their school mates and finish the year on a high note.  Don’t take this away from them!

NSW rates are low (as at 17/8/20). We have the highest population and yet extremely low rates of transmission compared to the rest of the world, despite not being in lock-down, which we can attribute to our strict adherence to hygiene and social distancing practices while in public. Was your goal not to 'flatten the curve'? Forgive us for being confused.... are we aiming to flatten the curve to alleviate hospitals or is it for complete eradication? Because the narrative coming from you and your health minister has changed. 

We hope that you will re-consider your decision to further restrict our young people’s lives unnecessarily.