Governor Allows for July Celebrations for the Class of 2020
Governor Murphy announced on May 26th that the New Jersey Department of Education will allow school districts and college/universities to hold in-person graduation on July 6. Due to COVID-19, all schools have been canceled for the rest of the year which means that graduations, proms, and end-of-the-year functions were canceled or held virtually.
Thus far, the Governor's requirements are that ceremonies must be held outdoors and still follow social distancing protocols in order to protect the health of students and adults attending the ceremony. This allows students and especially the seniors to experience real graduation after working hard for many years. In many cases, several outdoor ceremonies will need to be held to accommodate large classes.
“I am proud to say that our graduates will have the opportunity to join their classmates and families to celebrate graduation,” said Governor Murphy. “Despite the uncertainty of these times, our students deserve to have their hard work acknowledged and celebrate safely. We have reached a point where we feel confident moving forward and giving our graduates the send-off they have so rightly earned.” Governor Murphy knows that New Jersey along with all the other states are going through a fight against COVID-19 but believes if everyone follows procedures seniors will be able to get the graduation they deserve by saying goodbye to their school, teachers, and friends.
According to NJ Education, “Murphy’s announcement gives school districts critical guidance they had been waiting for, but it may come too late for some seniors. The state is allowing only virtual and drive-thru ceremonies this month. Even with a 500-person capacity, larger districts that scheduled July ceremonies will still be forced to limit attendance to students only or hold multiple ceremonies to allow for guests. State guidance to schools issued last month suggests everyone should wear a mask and have their temperature checked upon arrival.”
Even with Murphy allowing seniors to have graduation some schools still refuse to allow it. “Despite the governor’s blessing for July graduation ceremonies as the state rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic, some New Jersey districts say they won’t host them for health or logistical reasons. Instead, they plan to stay the course with the virtual or drive-thru ceremonies districts invested time and money in planning after Murphy himself warned last month he couldn’t see schools having in-person graduations.” Schools are concerned that this graduation will risk the student's and staff’s health.