NEW YORK - Michael Galardi is graduating in June from Plainedge High School in Massapequa, Long Island.
"We're getting to the events we've been looking forward to our entire academic careers," Galardi says.
The ceremony will not look like a traditional graduation. Instead, it will, once again, include social distancing, masks, contact tracing, and limited capacity.
"It's like a little worrisome to me that what happens if I can't have my parents, my grandparents, my girlfriend, you know, all of these people who I want to have at this big event," Galardi says. "I only graduate from high school once."
Michael’s mother, Robin, says, "We're all just keeping our fingers crossed in hopes that we can have something for them to have memories."
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Governor Cuomo has acknowledged the importance of graduation ceremonies after a stress-filled year.
"We hope schools have graduation ceremonies. We just want them safe and we want them smart," Cuomo says.
The governor is implementing new guidelines.
Large outdoor graduations of 500 people or more are limited to 20 percent of the venue's capacity. Between 201 and 500 people, 33 percent capacity and both require either proof of vaccination or a negative test.
Graduations of 200 people or less will be capped at 50 percent capacity. Proof of vaccination or a negative test will be optional.
Large indoor graduations of more than 150 people are limited to 10 percent capacity.
Between 100 and 150 people, 33 percent capacity and both require either proof of vaccination or a negative test.
Up to 100 people, capacity is capped at 50 percent and proof of vaccination or a negative test is optional.
Robin Galardi says, "After the year plus that we've all had, more people want to celebrate than ever. Anything that we can," Robin Galardi says. "I just wish the guidelines were allowing for more people."
Michael Galardi remains hopeful.
"I'm really hoping we can end on a high note," he says.