Click here for a video of Belmar Elementary School’s eighth-grade celebration with scenes from its drive-thru send-off on June 10.
BELMAR, NJ — Belmar Elementary School is moving forward with plans for a July 20 outdoor graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020.
Based on Gov. Phil Murphy’s announcement earlier this month that schools can have up to 500 persons at graduations beginning on July 6, BES officials expect to have some 300 in attendance, including 57 graduating eighth-graders, their guests and limited staff members for the event, planned on the school’s playground.
In adhering to state coronavirus-related regulations, everyone will receive a temperature check upon arrival and face masks will be required. While families will be seated together, social distancing of six feet will be maintained among nonrelated attendees. During the time-limited event, five graduates will deliver speeches, but there will be no performances by the school band or chorus.
In asking students and parents what they wanted to see in a graduation ceremony during these times, School Superintendent David Hallman said the consensus was to keep it simple — “walking across the stage, wearing a gown and hearing graduation music. That’s what we’re looking to do, and we are going to do our best to do that, (while) following all the regulations.”
In determining the July 20 date, the district made sure it did not fall on the same day as Manasquan High School or Red Bank Regional High School;s graduation, or on those planned for elementary schools in nearby sending districts.
And if it rains on July 20, the BES ceremony will be rescheduled on the next day without inclement weather.
While the eighth-grade overnight trip to Gettysburg, Pa., has now been canceled based on current state restrictions, school officials are still determining whether a day trip to nearby Great Adventure is an option.
“We’re trying to hold on to the idea of a day trip,” Hallman said, adding that a decision would be based on state-imposed regulations on such trips, including bus transportation, as well as those at the Jackson-based amusement and water park itself.
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