I am a member of the graduating class of 2020, graduating from Roseville Area High School. Many of my classmates are obviously upset seeing the end of our senior year and all the celebrations such as prom, end-of-year banquets and graduation become canceled for the time being (“Minnesota bans large, in-person ceremonies for 2020 graduates,” StarTribune.com, May 8). However, I am getting sick of seeing adults exploit my peers’ grief and pain in this time to express their own frustration with necessary government action to protect our communities during this public health crisis.

My class understands the importance of protecting our communities and the need to be flexible to change during this unprecedented time. While many of us are disappointed, we know that it is irresponsible to hold celebrations right now that could spread this virus and hurt our friends, family and neighbors. I’m proud of my peers for having this mature and nuanced understanding of the situation. We know there is room in the future for these celebrations, as well as unique options now. We hope that adults also step up, follow guidelines and not exploit our pain as a means to express their distaste with necessary action.

The class of 2020 is strong, resilient and creative. Thank you to all my peers and teachers for making me who I am today. I am so proud of us for what we’ve collectively accomplished, as well as our shared understanding of this complex time.

Sami Banat, St. Paul

• • •

Many people are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that has turned our lives as we knew them upside down. This is especially true for those graduating this year, the class of 2020. As a senior, I have had everything that I have been looking forward to throughout my 13 years of school recently taken away. Senior prom, graduation ceremonies, the all-night grad party, and much more.

We found out that schools would be transferred online two days before it happened. My last day of high school passed on short notice, filled with unforeseen final concerts, class conversations in half-full classes and lots of tears. After I had walked out of the school for what would be the last time as a student on a Tuesday in the middle of March, I was left with an empty, incomplete feeling. It began to hit me slowly that I — along with the rest of my class — would not be going back to high school. Dates passed, and events popped up on my calendar — College Decision Day (wear your sweatshirt!), prom and choir concert dates — and I have watched each one pass with a deep sadness. Every student looks forward to their graduation and the time that they will get to transition to the next step in their lives. Nobody ever dreams that it will be so sudden, that the high school experience will stop with a mere two days’ notice. For us, the class of 2020, the graduation that we looked forward to — the celebration, happiness, final concerts, gatherings and closure — will forever be a dream.

Though the circumstances are extremely unfortunate, thank you to everyone who has made these last years of school possible for us seniors. This will definitely be a graduation to remember.

Clara Kramer, Duluth, Minn.


We want visitors. Just not right now.

Dear second-home owners and visitors to Cook County: It’s obvious that you love Cook County. You are an integral part of its economy and culture. Please be aware, however, that small-town Grand Marais is not just your getaway destination. It is also a community of its own. For the people who live and work here, who raise their children and care for their parents here, this is our primary home. We do not have somewhere else to go.

You may think that you are “just” enjoying the shore. But would you invite non-household members into your home right now, to sit on your furniture and gaze out the windows? If you are coming here from outside Cook County, you are not obeying the governor’s order to stay at home (close to your primary residence). You are potentially dragging the coronavirus infection with you and putting the small town you love at risk.

We already have limited resources. We have no in-store grocery shopping, for instance — you must place your order by phone and then pick it up at the curb several hours later. Grocers are only able to provide this service using an army of local volunteers. Once the virus takes hold, these businesses may have to close due to lack of healthy workers. Then no one here will have local access to food.

Our tiny rural hospital has limited beds, with only a few nurses on any shift, and no ICU beds or ventilators. We are trying to protect our front-line health care workers. We are trying to protect our elders and others who are vulnerable. These people are our friends and family members. We are trying to flatten the curve, not just in Minnesota, but right here in Cook County.

Please don’t be selfish. Don’t think that your desire to recreate is more important than our community’s need for safety. Please protect the community you love by following the governor’s guidance and stay at home for now.

We miss you and look forward to having you back when we can safely reopen.

Jennifer Schulz, Grand Marais, Minn.


Some biblical wisdom can help

In the May 6 issue of the Star Tribune, a law professor argued that Virginia should declare worship services essential, asking, “After all, who is to say that collective worship of almighty God is nonessential?” (“Virginia should declare worship services ‘essential,’ ” Opinion Exchange.) The opinion addressed the church vs. state directive but nothing about the comparative COVID-19 risks for both congregation and community. If the congregation were doing something more obviously harmful, there would be little debate. But since the church is Christian, some things the Bible says about worship might be relevant.

The Pharisees criticized Jesus for healing on the Sabbath but Jesus reminded them that, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” Preventing spread of disease on the Sabbath might be even better than having to treat it.

The prophet Amos brought God’s warning to the northern kingdom of Israel with: “I hate, I despise your festivals, and take no delight in your solemn assemblies. ... But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” For its lack of attention to justice, God used Assyria to destroy that kingdom. The biblical stance is that worshipers who fail to adequately witness to societal injustices are not the most authentic.

The attorneys general who argue this case involving “almighty God” should respect the view that God may have at least “allowed” the pandemic to be a wake-up call for all nations to better address societal injustices. More such efforts might make their worship gatherings more “essential.”

Charles Peterson, Bloomington

• • •

I read with horror that Minnesota faith groups have sued to reopen churches and businesses (“Lawsuit contests Walz’s closures,” May 8). I am a libertarian at heart. I believe that people have rights and should be allowed to express those rights. However, when it comes to a pandemic, which is currently exploding across Minnesota, the “open up” people are failing to consider a very simple truth. If you contract coronavirus and you become a cog in the spread of the disease to others by not social distancing, your choices may down the line kill someone’s child, or spouse, or sibling, or parent, or grandparent. It is not about your rights or your freedom of expression. It is about protecting innocent people from the consequences of your carelessness or your selfishness, or your ill-conceived choices. Stay home and protect the rest of us!

Clifford Chapin, Nome, Alaska

The writer is an emergency room physician.

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