On Wednesday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced that K- 12 schools would remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. When the initial two week closure was announced on March 5, nine weeks, or one quarter remained in the school year. Georgia had less than 50 confirmed cases of COVID- 19 and no reported deaths. On April 1, Georgia had 4, 748 confirmed cases and 154 deaths, and still the numbers climb.
According to buzz on social media, the decision to close schools until the next school year was expected but dreaded. Teachers did not have the opportunity to say good-bye to their students. Parents were caught off guard and are now responsible for supervising their children’s digital education. However, those most affected are those who were set to celebrate these last weeks and create lasting memories of their senior year. They are missing the final weeks of spending time with classmates whom they’ve known for the past thirteen years and saying good-bye to teachers who have poured into their lives. Prom dresses have been bought, caps and gowns ordered, invitations written, but those senior rites of passage are now canceled.
As I told a senior earlier, go ahead and grieve because this is a great loss. I have learned that crying over disappointments is healthy. You need to process the circumstances of this strange time. Cry, scream, question God, then I want you to see this in a new light. I want you to be proud because of the sacrifice you have made for your family and for your country. A sacrifice because you are giving up something dear, something you have dreamed about as you have watched older siblings or friends graduate . I’ve seen some posts lamenting that this has been taken away from you, but I believe that you are giving it away instead. I believe you understand that many more people will contract the virus and die from it if we continue with traditional high school graduations. Although you realize that you are at a very low risk, you know that your grandparents would not miss your graduation. They wouldn’t want to let you down. People would travel in from long distances. So, thank you for sacrificing this significant event of your life.
It isn’t fair. We are sad for you. However, we are going to celebrate you. It will be different; it will be creative. It may be a smaller event. That’s alright because you’ll know that those people who truly love you will show up for you. Finally, know that God has something even better for you in your future.