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Volume 5, Issue 56  |  July 14, 2020

Fair Game


Students to protest at District offices today for in-person 2020 graduation ceremonies

Fair Game Tom NewToday in Stu News we present several voices of high school students sharing their opinions on what this year’s Class of 2020 high school graduation should look like.

On one hand, the option is to follow the Newport-Mesa Unified School District’s plan to provide a virtual graduation by broadcasting it. NMUSD has already contracted with Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment to provide that. To their credit, Van Wagner recently did the USC graduation and has worked with many major organizations, including the NFL. So, they’re obviously accomplished.

But wait, there’s another side of students who feel excluded from the decision-making process. They want to go in a different direction and call for an in-person graduation, perhaps even in July or August, while following federal and state protocols in play at that time for health safety. They’ve even gone as far as measuring the available space at Davidson Field to make certain it would work with social distancing guidelines required for six feet of separation. They say it not only works, but it’s really three times the amount of space required.

Those students pushing for the in-person graduation have called for a peaceful, safe social-distancing, mask-wearing protest today at the District offices in Costa Mesa beginning at 11 a.m. The hope is to show those in control at the District that such an in-person graduation would be possible and safe by doing so.

It’s a tough call. Unfortunately, many of these seniors feel cheated out of their senior year, missing the prom, the end-of-the-year yearbook signing, spring sports, spring plays and performances, and now potentially their graduation.

Hopefully, today will lead to a good discussion and ultimately involve all of the students in the decision-making process to come to some common ground.

Let’s figure it out and make sure we send them off right.

• • •

Last weekend it was invigorating seeing the community come alive after so much time in seclusion. People filled our beaches, with proper social distancing seemingly in play, our restaurants started serving inside again, and retail stores began turning those closed signs around and welcoming back customers.

When I checked with the voices behind Fashion Island they told me, “(We) never closed and have continuously remained open for stores offering essential services, as well as stores and restaurants with curbside pickup. We are excited to welcome back even more stores and customers now that the Governor and County have started to ease restrictions.

“We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to prepare for this day, and to provide safe and supportive environments for our guests. Part of this effort was establishing new comprehensive cleaning and sanitizing protocols, as well as the installation of physical distancing signage throughout the center. Fashion Island and its merchants and restaurants will be following all government guidelines for safe practices.” 

Across town, South Coast Plaza has plans to reopen next Monday, June 1.

“We are thrilled to learn that we are now allowed to reopen to the public,” said SCP spokesperson Debra Gunn Downing. “South Coast Plaza and its retailers and restaurants are ready with new social distancing measures and other significant protocols designed to provide a safe and welcoming shopping experience for our visitors. We will reopen (on June 1) and share details about our new practices soon.”

This is good news to everyone, so get out there and shop, shop, shop.

• • •

Note, tonight’s City Council Regular Meeting and Closed Session begins at 5 p.m. There will be no Study Session, instead, it will be preceded by the City Council Joint Meeting with the Finance Committee beginning at 4 p.m.

Both sessions will be broadcast on NBTV.

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