New Jersey will allow schools to host outdoor in-person graduation ceremonies this summer, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday.
Murphy said that starting July 6, commencement events can be held for the Class of 2020 — as long as they comply with social distancing rules.
“Our goal is to give our students the sendoffs they richly deserve and which they have been working towards,” Murphy said at his daily coronavirus press conference.
More guidance will be released Wednesday to help schools safely organize ceremonies for graduates and their loved ones amid the pandemic, he said.
“Given that some graduating classes may be too large to accommodate a crowd within the restrictions in place for outdoor gatherings, this guidance may require that multiple ceremonies be held across different times and even different days,” Murphy said.
Murphy, who has been working to slowly reopen the state, said it’s not known what the capacities will be yet for the graduations — a number which will be determined by evolving data on outbreaks.
“Certainly, these will be graduations unlike any others,” Murphy said. “The steps we are taking are necessary to ensure the health and safety of everyone in attendance, but we are equally as confident that no one will ever forget the way we celebrate the class of 2020.”
The move is a win for students across the Garden State, particularly those in Toms River who sued the governor earlier this month, saying his stay-at-home order violated their constitutional rights, according to the Asbury Park Press.