TRENTON, NJ - After New Jersey state officials recently told residents that in-person commencement ceremonies were not in the cards due to the coronavirus pandemic, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy offered a ray of hope to those hoping that actual in-person graduation events could happen at some point during the summer months.

"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," Murphy said in response to a reporter's question Monday. "I have that same hope. I've got nothing to report, but I have that same hope."

Less than a week ago, Murphy said of the fact no in-person events could be held, "It stinks. There's no other way to put it. and we feel awful. But we also got to make sure we don't, by celebrating this year, that we lose somebody. And we can't do that, particularly in the intergenerational spread of this virus."

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Murphy later 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's 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."

Murphy's comments on commencement ceremonies came on the same day that he issued an Executive Order that allows some additional outdoor recreational areas and businesses to restart their operations effective Friday, May 22, with the governor stating that New Jersey is in "Stage 1" of the state's reopening.

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