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NJ graduation ceremonies unlikely due to COVID-19, Murphy says

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Posted at 4:28 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 16:41:11-04

TRENTON, N.J. — As the state heads into its 2nd month of extreme social distancing measures, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy doesn't see much of a chance that New Jersey schools will be back in time for graduation ceremonies to take place.

"I'm not trying to be flippant, but I wouldn't put any non-refundable checks down on your celebrations," the governor said in his daily media briefing. "I hope I'm wrong."

Gov. Murphy extended the public health emergency New Jersey is under through May 9. The order to close schools has been extended indefinitely.

The governor suggested he hoped districts could get creative in finding a way to celebrate graduations. Department of Education Commissioner Dr. Lamont Repollet said that ceremonies were a local decision and hopes that they'll adhere to social distancing guidelines regardless.

Murphy also signed an executive order waiving the student assessment requirements for high school seniors to graduate this year. Repollet said keeping it would "unwelcome and counterproductive" to students.

Repollet said that, while there had been challenges in changing from traditional schools to remote learning, he was happy with how educators and students had dealt with the adjustment.

"We're very pleased with where they're going right now," he said.