FLEMINGTON, NJ - The Hunterdon Central Regional Board of Education has approved moving the high school’s graduation to June 19.
The move done at their May 18 meeting was part of a change in the calendar for the remainder of the academic year.
Before the vote, Superintendent Jeffrey Moore outlined plans for how the school will celebrate the Class of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The guiding thought in all of our graduation plans is a very simple one, it signals the collaboration that we continue to want to grow with our community,” he said. “But it also recognizes that there are distinct restrictions around what we’re able to do both now and likely into June and probably beyond.”
That thought highlighted in a PowerPoint presentation is “working with the community, and respecting restrictions, we want to celebrate while we also provide opportunities for people to be together on campus,” he said.
Moore said they are planning a series of events that will go well into the summer.
He added that one of the main barriers are executive orders from Gov. Phil Murphy that ban most large public gatherings. On top of that, he said, last week’s directive from the state Department of Education told all schools to hold virtual graduation ceremonies.
“[The department] has not released updated guidance after last week’s executive order that allows us to do car events,” said Moore, adding they need to start planning specific activities. “So we are not necessarily waiting for updated guidance as long as we keep an eye on complying with the executive orders.”
In addition to the virtual ceremony, the district plans to honor the senior class. Starting in June, through the school’s media outlets, they will include highlights from the last four years.
The district is also looking at some in-person events, such as drive-through celebrations and giving students time to see the campus and faculty one more time before moving on to their next chapters.
“I really hate that our seniors had an abrupt end and final departure from campus on March 13,” Moore said. “Nobody left campus March 13 knowing that that would be it for the end of the year.”
The district is working with law enforcement and public health officials as they plan the events. All information will be posted on the school’s website.
The new date for graduation will also mark the end of the year for staff as part of changes to the school calendar. The last day for students will now be June 18.
The changes are being made to the calendar because of unused snow days.