OUR VIEW: Allowing bigger crowds right decision for graduations

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, May 26, 2021

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On Monday, the Troup County School System made the decision to fill Callaway Stadium to full capacity for graduation ceremonies on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.

The news, understandably, was exciting for students graduating and their families, who no longer have to figure out how to pick which family members get to attend and which have to stay home. Before the announcement, students received only eight tickets apiece, meaning a lot of family members were going to get left out.

Now, the stadium will allow as many as 5,000 people to attend — first come, first served.

While we understand that this might be a controversial decision in the eyes of some, we think it’s the right one. At this point, the facts about this virus are fairly straightforward.

First, if you want a vaccine, there have been countless opportunities to get one and that remains the case. By now, anyone easily could’ve received both doses. (Only 18% of Troup residents are fully vaccinated, but that’s a topic for another day.)

Secondly, the local COVID-19 numbers have never looked better. Two of the last four days, there have been zero new cases of COVID-19 reported in Troup County. That doesn’t mean the pandemic is over, but it’s certainly under control locally. Over the last two weeks, there have been 38 total new cases reported by the Georgia Department of Public Health.

Third, TCSS is still requiring masks to get into the graduation. Graduating students will also wear masks when walking into the stadium and walking across the stage.

The CDC is also no longer recommending that everyone wear masks all the time. Fully vaccinated people can go without one outdoors or indoors, as long as they aren’t in crowded settings like planes and trains. (We’d guess that a 5,000 seat stadium would apply too.)

Last year at this time, TCSS was unsure if it would even be able to host graduation ceremonies. Eventually, it hosted virtual ceremonies and later managed to hold in-person graduations as well.

This year, the school system wants as many people to be able to see their students graduate as possible.

We think the right decision was made.