TRENTON, NJ -  New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy continues to remain hopeful that a way can be found to hold graduation ceremonies this summer.

Near the conclusion of his daily New Jersey COVID-19 task force briefing, a reporter asked Murphy if those school districts still holding out hope for traditional commencement ceremonies should remain so.

Murphy responded,  "Should school districts, should students, should moms and dads hold out hope that we can somehow have some form of an in-person commencement? The answer is they should hold out hope. I have that same hope. I've got nothing to report, but I have that same hope."

Sign Up for Hillsborough Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Later in the briefing Murphy added, "This commencement year is unlike any in any of our lives. This is literally, I suspect it's something akin to graduating from high school in 1944... June of '44 probably less than a month after D-Day. It's in that sort of realm. Acknowledging how unusual this is. how much respect we still have for the accomplishment even though we can't gather in the way that we would otherwise gather. It's a big deal. This is a big deal. Certainly high school, but I would even say a middle school, an elementary school, certainly a college."

The call for in-person commencement ceremonies has spawned a petition -- entitled 'NJ Seniors deserve a proper graduation ceremony' -- located at which states, "Governor Murphy, while our state has been very supportive of your actions during the pandemic, the parents of the graduating class of 2020 find it very unreasonable for you to ban all graduation ceremonies other than virtual ones. While we understand the severity of the health crisis we are facing we believe that our seniors have been waiting for this moment for many years and it does not have to be an all or nothing option.

While you have opened golf courses, parks, beaches, boardwalks, Targets, Walmart’s, Lowe’s, Home Depot’s, liquor stores etc, we are certain it is possible to find a creative way for the class of 2020 to graduate in the traditional manner while following the social distancing rules set forth.

We urge you to take this under serious consideration as this is “essential” to our children’s emotional, mental and social well being."