MORRISTOWN, NJ – High school seniors across New Jersey have been in limbo for months whether they’ll get to experience the culmination of their years of hard work through an in-person graduation ceremony due to the coronavirus pandemic. For a period of time, it appeared the long-standing tradition of walking would be an unfulfilled dream for hundreds of Morristown High School seniors and their families.
That is until MHS Principal Mark Manning issued a letter to parents on Thursday afternoon revealing their plans for an in-person commencement ceremony the week of July 6. The announcement comes just days after New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said high schools can plan to have as many as 500 people at outdoor graduation ceremonies.
However, there is one caveat. Parents and families still may not be able to attend.
Principal Manning proposed two scenarios in the letter:
Plan A: if the capacity limit remains at 500 during the week of July 6, 2020: We will hold three separate ceremonies as follows:
● Approximately 150 graduates per ceremony (alphabetical by last name)
● Two guests per graduate
Plan B: if the capacity limits are reduced but remain between 200 and 500 during the week of July 6, 2020: We will hold three separate ceremonies as follows:
● Approximately 150 graduates per ceremony
● No guests
However, if the capacity limits are reduced below 200 during the week of July 6, 2020, there will not be any in-person graduation ceremonies.
Specific dates and times for each ceremony will be communicated in the near future. Students will be required to register to participate in these ceremonies via Google Form, which will be shared with students this week. so please make certain your student completes the form so that they are able to participate.
Per NJ Department of Education guidelines for in-person graduation ceremonies, the following conditions, along with others outlined in the guidelines, will be strictly enforced in order to ensure the highest level of safety for all attendees:
● All attendees will be required to wear face masks throughout the ceremony
● Social distancing recommendations of six feet or more between non-family members
● There will be no physical contact between non-family members
● There will be no exchange of any items (diplomas, programs, etc.)
● There will be no cap tossing at the end of the ceremony
● Ceremonies will be limited in duration to limit exposure
“We would like to thank all of our graduates and their families for their patience and support throughout the past few months regarding plans for graduation,” Manning concluded in the letter. “Now that we have clear direction and guidelines from the Governor and the State DOE, we are able to plan for meaningful ways to celebrate and honor the Class of 2020. We will provide additional updates and information at some point next week.”
MHS also issued updates on the following:
Debut of the Class of 2020 Celebration Website
On Monday, June 22, MHS will devote a spot on their website to celebrate the Senior Class. This website will contain Faculty Farewells, Student Tributes to Teachers, Our Students Then & Now, Favorite Student Memories, and much more.
Photo Opportunities for Graduates and Their Families
Beginning Monday, June 22, through Friday, June 26, between the hours of 11am and 2pm, there will be small staging areas around the school campus for students and parents/guardians to come take photos of graduating seniors.
All participants must wear masks (except when being photographed) and must remain six feet apart from non-family members at all times. Group photos with more than one graduate not of the same family are not permitted. The school will provide the photo locations in the near future.
Drive-up Diploma and Yearbook Pick-up
MHS will conduct a Drive-up Diploma and Yearbook Pick-up Celebration on Saturday, June 27, from 10am - 2pm. In addition to diplomas, yearbooks, and graduation programs, students who received senior award recognitions will receive those materials as well.
Teachers, administrators and other staff will be present to wave and clap-out our amazing senior class!! If students have any outstanding financial obligations, they will not be able to pick up these items. All social distancing guidelines and protocols will be followed.
Morristown High School’s Class of 2020 Virtual Graduation Ceremony
The Virtual Graduation Ceremony will be available for graduates and their families to view on June 24 at 7pm. A formal invitation will be sent at some point next week.
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