Garcetti To Class of 2020: 'This Is Not The Spring You Hoped For, But It's The Spring You Have'
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the launch of a page on the city's website where members of the class of 2020 can voice their concerns about graduating from high school and potentially starting college in the Fall.
He encouraged students to visit coronavirus.lacity.org/collegeconnect, explaining that once their form is submitted, a counselor from their accepted college, high school, or nonprofit education partner will respond to offer help and guidance.
The mayor proceeded to use today's briefing to speak directly to the class of 2020:
"I know that for many of the students that have been admitted at four year colleges and universities, that tomorrow is College Signing Day. This is the deadline for students to submit their Intent To Enroll forms. And while some colleges have extended that deadline to June 1, many have not. You face an agonizing dilemma right now, whether to accept and follow your dreams for tomorrow, or to put those dreams on hold to help your families today. For many, this would have been a tough call, anyway. But COVID-19 makes it even more excruciating."
"This is not the spring that you hoped for. This is not the spring that you deserved. But this is the spring that you have," he said, addressing the many the high school students across Los Angeles, who are now missing big events like prom and graduation ceremonies due to the virus.
President of the Campaign for College Opportunity, Michele Siqueiros, took the stand, adding that she is the parent of an LAUSD high school senior who is heartbroken that their graduation has been postponed.
Siqueiros encouraged graduates not to turn down the chance to attend college in the fall, despite the current situation.
"The value of a college education has never been higher," she said. "Over their lifetime, a college graduate earns more than $1 million more than their peers who only graduated from high school," adding that college graduates, as a whole, experience lower rates of unemployment and poverty, as well as higher access to health care, business opportunities and home ownership.
She went on to give more encouragement:
"Bottom line, college is worth it. While this pandemic may be postponing graduations, proms, senior activities, moments with your friends and family, it cannot postpone your dreams. The mayor and I know firsthand that pursuing your dreams, even in the face of adversity, will pay off.
And that's why if you were admitted into your dream college, and you can say yes, we urge you to say yes. This crisis will end, the pandemic will run its course. And we want to see you on your way to walking across the college graduation stage."
After yesterday's announcement that testing is now available for all Angelenos, even those who are asymptomatic, the mayor clarified some points and provided some numbers:
- Priority will still be given to high-risk individuals at all testing sites. "We'll never let the opening up of new tests take away the priority of those who need it the most. But as long as we have more tests available, we should never let any go unused each day," the mayor said.
- There are now 34 testing centers open in L.A.
- As of today, over 150,000 Angelenos have been tested. Opening up testing to everyone has allowed the city to double the numbers of those tested.
- Although testing does fill up some days, the mayor said "our testing lab has hundreds of thousands of tests that are available." Those who don't get an appointment time should continue to access available testing slots.
- To quell confusion about the city versus county guidelines about testing, Garcetti said he is not worried about supply. "We have over 300,000 tests stockpiled right now," he said. He added that the city has the potential to test 50,000 people a day. He is hoping this is most helpful for people who want to return to work when the stay-at-home order is potentially lifted (or ammended) on May 15. He says that the city and county testing policies are complimentary.