Class of 2021 Deserves More

Class of 2021 Deserves More

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Bailey Summerville started this petition to The Community

To whom it may concern:

       On behalf of the graduating Class of 2021, we are writing to you to share the voices of those who cannot be heard. Our discontentment with a virtual graduation and our hopes for an in-person one compels us to ask you, beg you, to listen to what we have to say. We support keeping the community safe, but we also cannot stand by when there are many safe options that are not being considered. We are the graduating Class of 2021 and we deserve our hard work and perseverance during an impossible time to be acknowledged. Since our voices were not included in the initial decision, this is our only way of making sure they are heard from here on out. 

       We understand as much as the next person how dangerous Covid-19 can be. No one has been more affected by Covid-19 than the current college students. Not only have we lost loved ones, our independence, and opportunities, but now our acknowledgement for surviving this time has also been taken away. While we know this is not your intent, this is the consequence of holding a virtual Commencement ceremony. We realize that there are strict guidelines Edinboro University must follow to ensure the safety of all students and faculty. Despite these guidelines, there are many opportunities still available that the school is refusing to consider. 

      We recognize that there are many individuals who are uncomfortable with attending in-person events. For this reason, we have come up with solutions that will fit the needs and wants of everyone. While maintaining the safety of all students and faculty, we believe that we can safely have an in-person Commencement. As we are discussing the many possibilities for an in-person graduation, we have taken the liberty to research and find logical, realistic, and safe solutions. We understand that due to Covid-19 restrictions, having a large amount of people in an indoor location is unsafe. Due to this, we have researched many possible outdoor venues that could be used, listed below. 

In the area and outdoors:
Sox Harrison Stadium, the cross country field, Vet Memorial Stadium in Erie, the Amphitheater across from GM, and General McLane football field 
Other possibilities with social distancing:
Erie Insurance Arena, Warner Theatre, Prep Villa Event Center, Mcdowell Auditoriums

Possible Alternatives:

      To have an in-person Commencement, we understand we cannot have all of our families there. With that being said, having it be virtual while still having students present can be achieved. 

       Live stream the ceremony- have families and the individuals who are uncomfortable with in-person events attend that way. If certain students still prefer the powerpoint method, they can be allowed to do so. Have the in-person graduating students socially distanced and masked. The graduating students should walk around the track to ensure social distancing is possible. This gives the perfect opportunity for a cameraman to be set up on the field facing the stage, protecting himself and others by being 6 feet away at all times. 
House the graduation in one of the many outdoor locations provided. 

        For example: This is just one of the many possible solutions just within our football field. If the parking lots surrounding our football field are not adequate, there are the large Highlands and McComb parking lots to house students as they wait for their time to receive their diploma. As you can imagine, there are many paths on our field, as well as the other locations we provided. In order to maintain the social distancing guidelines set by the CDC, there will be markers every 6ft along the path so students are aware of the distance required. One path in particular may begin within the parking lot between Scotland Rd and Sox Harrison Stadium. The students shall file onto the track (per how many the school deems fit) through the entrance next to the home bleachers. With markers along the track (at least 6 ft or farther), students will remain masked and socially distanced. By placing the stage in the end zone in front of the tennis courts, students may exit the stage and continue to the parking lot by S Perry Lane. This ensures a flow of students that will prevent close contact. 


        We acknowledge that the school will need an adamant amount of time to determine which students will walk in-person and which will attend an online graduation. Due to this, we believe an appropriate ‘Due Date’ for students would be around April 20th. This would provide the school enough time to receive the information necessary for the students who prefer in-person and those who would prefer their name on a powerpoint. Obviously the University is aware of how much time they would need to prepare more adequately than students, this is just a general concept. 
In order to maintain the guidelines set by the CDC and the state of Pennsylvania, groups of people can be broken down into departments and then even further alphabetically. This ensures that only a small percentage of the graduating class is present at the ceremony at all times. People can be given report times ahead of the ceremony to avoid confusion. 

       For example: Westchester University is planning to hold an in-person Commencement ceremony for their graduating Class of 2021. They split their Commencement ceremony into multiple days, then split departments into set times. We are not suggesting that Edinboro University follow Westchester exactly, but if another school within PASSHE can make it possible, then so can we.

     In terms of contactless diploma pick-up, Dr. Dale has many options:
For example: 
Student A walks to the first marker on the stage
Dr. Dale places diploma on a table in the middle of the stage
Student A waits until Dr. Dale is back at her marker before proceeding to grab their diploma and walk off stage
*This ensures social distancing for faculty as well*

Final Remarks: 

     While we understand that this is an extremely difficult situation with strict rules, we believe we have outlined many great, smart, and safe options for the graduating Class of 2021 to have some form of an in-person Commencement ceremony. We hope you hear our voices, full of determination and hope, and acknowledge the possibilities this document brings. 

       We realize this is a daunting task for Edinboro University, but the Class of 2021 deserves an in-person ceremony and more. We were thrown into online learning, many of us lost loved ones, time with our friends, and much more. We hope you can take the time to read and understand that while we want to be safe, we also deserve the recognition of all of our hard work- not only over the last four years, but the last year especially. The fact that Edinboro University is still having such a large amount of students earn their diploma during this time should be celebrated, not ignored. This is the time for Edinboro University to support their students and show how proud they are of us. We hope you can take the time and are able to see things from our perspective. 

       To Dr. Dale and the following University staff involved in this decision, we hope you can show us the true meaning of Edinboro University’s motto and let us live up to it.


Thank you for your consideration,

The Class of 2021



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