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Graduations return

A year ago this month, it seemed like everything had gone haywire. Perhaps one of the most disappointing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic was that high school and college graduates were not able to celebrate that milestone in traditional fashion.

After more than a year of doing the right things to protect ourselves and others from the coronavirus, though, things have come full circle. This year, high schools, colleges and universities in our region are choosing to again hold in-person ceremonies to recognize the Class of 2021 — and in some cases, the Class of 2020.

Despite the fact that everyday life was turned upside down beginning in March 2020, these students managed to complete their studies under challenging conditions. From remote learning to teleconferencing or online meetings with faculty and fellow students to a limited number of on site labs in certain fields, these students buckled down and did what they needed to do in order to reach their goals.

Already, Belmont County’s two institutions of higher learning have held graduation ceremonies this month.

Ohio University Eastern graduated about 45 students on May 2, with around 30 of them attending the ceremony held in the athletic center on campus to allow space for social distancing.

Belmont College held four separate ceremonies over the course of two days the following week. This allowed graduates and family members to be present while observing COVID-19 precautions.

Now, high schools across the region are preparing for their own graduation celebrations. Many are opting for outdoor ceremonies, while some are limiting the number of attendees per student. Whatever steps they take to ensure safety at these events, we are pleased to see them finding solutions. Graduation is a milestone in life, and everyone who achieves it should mark it in some way.

We congratulate the Classes of 2020 and 2021 for their hard work and success, and we wish them all the best in the future endeavors.

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