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New Jersey releases new guidance on graduation ceremonies, University says to expect an update on commencement in 'near future'

N.J. Governor Phil Murphy announced Tuesday that college and high school graduations will be allowed to go ahead in the state starting July 6.

Graduation ceremonies must be held outdoors and follow social distancing rules, according to the announcement.

New Jersey announced new graduation guidelines to allow schools to hold commencement ceremonies after July 6. (File photo)

In an interview with The Setonian, University President Joseph Nyre said that he was pleased to hear about the new guidance from the state. 

“We promised our graduates that we would provide them with an in-person ceremony when permitted to do so,” Nyre said. “Our Commencement Committee, which includes students and faculty, is examining the state’s guidelines and will provide an update in the near future.”

“I am proud to say that our graduates will have the opportunity to join their classmates and families to celebrate your graduation,” said Governor Murphy in an announcement on the state’s website. “Despite the uncertainty of these times, our students deserve to have their hard work acknowledged and celebrate safely. We have reached a point where we feel confident moving forward and giving our graduates the send-off they have so rightly earned.”  

The New Jersey  Department of Education’s guidelines for graduations require strict social distancing - graduates must remain six feet apart, masks are encouraged, and all are asked to refrain from throwing their caps.

The guidelines state that ceremonies will have to follow occupancy limits for outdoor spaces at the time of the ceremony. Currently, outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people. Murphy says he hopes to raise this number as COVID-19 cases continue to decline statewide.

The guidelines also suggest that schools forbid any person with a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees, as well as anyone whose household members have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous two weeks from attending their ceremonies.

Seton Hall has repeatedly said that it plans to host an in-person commencement for the class of 2020 whenever possible. Following the state’s announcement, the University has declined to comment on whether it has updated its commencement plans.

Daniel O’Connor can be reached at Find him on Twitter @ItsDanOConnor.

Nicholas Kerr contributed reporting.

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