Last week, Stroudsburg High School became the first Monroe County school to have a face-to-face graduation. Yesterday, Monroe County's number of documented Covid cases ballooned to 27—by far, the highest total in weeks, harkening back to April, when we were listed as a hotbed in the state—even in the entire country. Since those horrifying times, the average had flattened to around 4 cases per day, which should be a point of pride for residents.
Most of the pictures from the occasion, which the Record has posted for sale, show happy graduates, dutifully wearing masks. However, others are not wearing masks. Although this is appalling, it is not surprising. Note: the graduates wearing masks do not seem any less happy than the others.
It is impossible to know how many of the 27 cases were caused by the ceremony, just as we can't know how many will face serious medical consequences—even death. Let's just say, too many—enough to call this a terrible decision by the Stroudsburg district.
Fortunately, ESU has shown better judgment in deciding to go online this fall. So far, only West Chester University and ESU are the only PASSHE schools to have made this difficult, but brave and correct decision. I applaud President Welsh and her leadership team, especially Vice Presidents Ken Long and Jo Bruno, for putting the safety of students and university employees above finance. I am very proud of my school. GO WARRIORS!
Allan N. Benn, Distinguished Professor of English, East Stroudsburg University