NJ high school plans 125 mini-graduations, 2 students at a time
A South Jersey high school has announced plans for seniors to graduate in-person, two by two, under the state's continued public health emergency restrictions.
Calling commencement an important milestone, Deptford Township High School Principal Jeffrey Lebb said "We wanted to make sure we follow all safety precautions and social-distancing guidelines for our students, staff, and community while honoring the Class of 2020 in the safest, most memorable way possible."
Over a span of five days, two graduates at a time joined by two guests each at most, will take part in a 15-minute mini-graduation ceremony. No individual ceremony would exceed 10 people, according to Lebb.
"We are bringing our graduating seniors into the high school one-at-a-time in their caps and gowns for pictures and to produce and compile a taped ceremony. At a separate time, student and administrative speeches for the ceremony will be recorded individually. This will give us a complete ceremony from start-to-finish that will be a unique and memorable experience for our students and their families," Lebb said.
All 125 sessions were tightly scheduled from 8 a.m. until afternoon hours starting June 4 and wrapping June 11, according to an update given to students May 15.
Those attending must wear face coverings, while seniors should still wear appropriate clothing along with their cap and gown to the ceremony, the school's instructions said.
School staff would be guiding each senior from their vehicle into the building and back, officials said.
Lebb continued "We have an amazing and supportive staff and administration here that have worked very diligently to provide a memorable celebration. Everything we do is for the success of our students, and celebrating their successes is an important part of the educational process."
Upon exit, each senior would receive an envelope containing his or her official diploma and any other award certificates or documents earned.
At Monday's state briefing, Gov. Phil Murphy said that graduating seniors, their families and school districts "should hold out hope" that some form of live graduation would be able to happen this summer, as the state continued to see encouraging trends among its confirmed cases and hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients.
In an email exchange, Lebb didn't say whether he'd been in touch with the governor's office or other state officials to confirm they wouldn't object to Deptford's plan. New Jersey 101.5 has reached out for more information.
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