By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
A day after Gov. Phil Murphy said graduations could be held under certain conditions, superintendents in the Ventnor City and Margate public schools said they would hold graduation ceremonies for their eighth graders.
Margate Superintendent Thomas Baruffi said the district is still in the planning stages but would likely hold a ceremony for graduates of the Eugene A. Tighe Middle School the week of July 6 on the athletic field across from the Amherst Avenue school.
Caps and gowns have been delivered, he said.
The exact date in not set at this time as the district is working to coordinate dates with the high schools Margate students attend to avoid a scheduling conflict.
“We’re excited about the fact that we can offer these students something close to a ‘normal’ graduation, which they obviously deserve. In fact, with it being outside, if everyone cooperates as needed, we think it could be really special,” he said.
Holding it on the field would allow as many people as possible to attend provided social distancing guidelines are followed.
Ventnor Superintendent Eileen Johnson said the district is still in the planning process.
The New Jersey Department of Education and the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education issued guidance for modified in-person graduation ceremonies beginning on July 6, including that they be held outdoors and follow social distancing protocols to protect the graduates and their families from COVID-19.
“Despite the uncertainty of these times, our students deserve to have their hard work acknowledged and celebrate safely,” Murphy said. “We have reached a point where we feel confident moving forward and giving our graduates the send-off they have so rightly earned.”
In-person graduations must take place on or after July 6; be held outdoors or be drive-through ceremonies; and caps, gowns and diplomas must be mailed to homes, sent electronically or distributed in a manner that complies with social distancing guidelines.
District officials are required to consult with municipal officials, the city’s Office of Emergency Management, local law enforcement, first responders and health officials.
Virtual or drive-through ceremonies can be held before July 6.
Ocean City High School commencement will be held July 7 at Carey Stadium. Mainland Regional High School is in the planning stages, and there is no word yet on Atlantic City High School.
Editor’s Note: Congratulations to all our Downbeach graduates. Their hard work and determination will serve them well into the future.
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Ocean City High School students from the Class of 2019 toss their caps in triumph at Carey Stadium.