May 29 - COVID-19 Update to the Community
May 29, 2020
Dear Freehold Regional Community,
Earlier this week, Governor Murphy announced that schools will be able to host outdoor graduation ceremonies after July 6th. This was excellent news as it confirmed that our planned in-person ceremonies for the week of July 27th could move forward, however, the new stipulations that have been set by the state will make this year’s graduation markedly different from prior years.
The Class of 2020 has lost out on many precious memories of senior year and we want to celebrate them in every way we can. We will carry on with our graduation celebration plans that were announced a few weeks ago. A virtual graduation ceremony will take place on June 24th, followed by an in-person commemoration the week of July 27th adhering to the Governor’s guidelines for what will be allowed at in-person, outdoor ceremonies. The Governor’s guidelines include:
- Ceremonies must take place outside after July 6th. No indoor ceremonies will be permitted.
- Ceremonies must adhere to the relevant capacity limitation in place at the time of the ceremony. Currently, this number is 25 people. This would require multiple ceremonies held over a period of time to ensure capacity restrictions are not exceeded.
- There should be limited contact between attendees, excluding immediate family members, with recommendations for passing diplomas electronically, for example.
- Districts must determine the minimum number of staff and faculty necessary to facilitate commencement ceremonies and adjust attendance requirements accordingly.
- Limited speeches and performances to minimize risk of transmission onstage or even with shared microphones.
- Face coverings “strongly encouraged.”
- Recommended rules asking any individual who is sick or showing symptoms not to attend, including possible temperature screenings for all those entering the venue.
- All activities must be coordinated in consultation with municipal offices, such as the local Office of Emergency Management, local law enforcement, first responders, and local health officials.
While these restrictions will impact our planning and what the ceremony will ultimately look like, we must follow these guidelines in order to hold an in-person ceremony. We share in your disappointment that our seniors will not have the same graduation experience as others before them. We feel the same frustration you do over the inconsistency from state officials on what type of graduation ceremony will be allowed.
Although this year’s graduation will look very different from previous years, we will ensure the Class of 2020 will still receive the best possible graduation experience we can provide under these restrictions. Information will be forthcoming from your building principal regarding details for the virtual graduation on June 24 and the in-person graduation slated for the week of July 27. We thank you for your support and flexibility during this time.
The Class of 2020 will forever hold a special place in our hearts. They are strong and we know they will continue to shine wherever their paths may lead.
Charles B. Sampson, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools