Murphy says there is hope for in-person graduations this spring
If we’re allowed to enjoy some R&R down the Jersey Shore starting this weekend, why not let a family go onto a football field to celebrate a high school graduation?
If you can stand on a line for a slice of pizza at the boardwalk, why not allow seniors to stand on line to get their diploma?
As New Jersey continues to slowly reopen there is a growing chorus of support for allowing high school seniors and their parents to participate in some kind of a masked, social distanced, outdoors, in-person graduation ceremony.
On Tuesday afternoon. state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., R-Union, called on the governor to allow outdoor high school graduations, noting “holding ceremonies outside with social distancing policies in place will ensure seniors are not deprived of this important memory.”
Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday suggested that there was still hope the graduations could happen by the end of June as infection rates and hospitalizations continue to decline.
"Do they (parents and students) have a right to have hope that we could still find a way — and they do have a right to have hope but I would add to that, bear with us — we’re trying to figure this one out and I would hope sooner than later,” he said during his daily news briefing.
He stressed millions of Garden State residents have been doing the right thing, staying home, practicing social distancing when shopping, wearing masks and washing hands, and this trend is allowing more and more activities to take place.
“If it’s an outdoor related activity where we can have some management of capacity and social distancing, you should assume those are high on our list of considerations,” he said. "we’re able to consider right now a pretty long list of potential steps over a period of time measured between days and weeks. We are chopping through this.”
Murphy said he is asked morning, noon and night about graduations.
“We’ll take the steps as fast as we can responsibly take them, but not so fast that we in some way risk reignition of a health concern,” said Murphy. “If there’s hope out there that in some form folks at some point, not crazy distant future, can gather for graduations — if you’ve got that hope I have that hope as well.”
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com