New Jersey

New Jersey Governor OKs Class of 2020 Graduation Ceremonies

In-person graduation ceremonies can take place starting July 6 in New Jersey but must be outdoors

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What to Know

  • New Jersey schools can hold outdoor graduation ceremonies starting July 6.
  • The Class of 2020 must be celebrated with social-distancing measures in place, Gov. Phil Murphy said. More guidance is expected soon.
  • Murphy also announced Tuesday that he has cleared the path for professional sports to resume practices and games in New Jersey.

The graduates of the Class of 2020 can be celebrated with commencement ceremonies in New Jersey, but they will have to wait until summer.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Twitter Tuesday morning that graduation ceremonies can be held outdoors starting July 6.

Murphy said he hopes that with continued social distancing, the state will be in a spot come July to safely allow ceremonies. He said some larger schools may need to hold multiple ceremonies on several days.

Social distancing measures intended to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus must remain in place, Murphy said. Any graduation -- including college, high school and other ceremonies -- can be held.

More guidance is expected to come on Wednesday, Murphy said.

Schools are closed to in-person learning through June because of the outbreak, but this is the latest easing of restrictions, which have included opening parks and golf courses along with the state's beaches.

People mostly practiced social distancing at beaches, parks and other public spaces during the Memorial Day weekend, Murphy said.

"The reports from across our state were overwhelmingly positive," Murphy said. "Thank you for taking to heart your greater responsibility to your communities, your families, and your fellow New Jerseyans."

Elective surgeries resumed in New Jersey Tuesday after the focus of the medical system was put on treating COVID-19 patients for the past couple months.

On Tuesday, the first-term Democrat also announced that professional sports teams could begin playing and practicing in New Jersey again. That paves the way for the Philadelphia 76ers to practice in Camden and the Philadelphia Flyers to practice in Voorhees.

It isn't clear when the teams will resume practice.

Slowing Spread of COVID-19

The spread of the coronavirus has slowed in recent weeks in New Jersey with cases and hospitalizations down from the peak.

As of Tuesday, New Jersey had reported nearly 156,000 COVID-19 cases and nearly 11,200 deaths related to the virus since the start of the outbreak. There were 54 new coronavirus-related deaths announced Tuesday.

Murphy said that the Memorial Day holiday could have played a role in there being fewer cases in recent days.

"It could take a few more days for these numbers to smooth out," Murphy said.

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