Class of 2020 Graduation Information

Class of 2020 Graduation Information
Posted on 06/05/2020
Grad Cap

Clearview Senior Class Parents:

This correspondence is follow up to an email sent out last night regarding graduation.  We want to clarify our current position and provide some rationale regarding the graduation process and plans.

First and foremost, we are absolutely committed to holding a July graduation if the Governor allows us to conduct a full outdoor ceremony.  The plans sent out last night are not in-lieu-of an outdoor graduation.  As stated on several occasions, we will do whatever we can in order to hold an outdoor graduation.  That’s been communicated in writing, stated publicly, and has been part of our collective lobbying efforts.  

Admittedly, there is a substantial amount of confusion regarding graduations in our state.  We want you to understand what has transpired over the past few weeks in addition to the current parameters that we must comply with.  As you already know, Clearview and other Gloucester County districts took a lead role in lobbying for outdoor graduations.  A copy of our letter to legislators was previously communicated to parents of the Senior class.  

 -On Tuesday, May 26th, Governor Murphy announced that districts will be able to hold outdoor  graduations after July 6th as long as they comply with the social distancing regulations.  He  Stated that the Commissioner of Education would be providing guidance outlining the  regulations that districts will have to comply with in order to hold a graduation.  On the surface,   this appeared to be very welcomed news. 

 -On Wednesday, May 27th, at our Board meeting, we publicly announced that we will be  holding an outdoor graduation on July 16th, with a rain date of July 17th.  The caveat being   that the Department of Education will be providing guidance that will determine how our  outdoor ceremony will proceed.     

-After the Board meeting on May 27th at 8:30PM, the Department of Education released the following guidelines.  COVID-19: Alternatives to Traditional Commencement Ceremonies (Update)

This guidance basically negated any potential for outdoor graduations.  In fact, the 25 person limitation includes ALL participants (Students, parents, administrators, Board Members, Photographer, District staff assisting in the process, etc.) at one time, which is basically where we were before any announcement was made by the Governor.

-On May 28th, after districts expressed their concern and confusion over the inconsistencies between the

Governor’s announcement and Department of Education guidance, the DOE issued this clarification. COVID-

19 Update: New Jersey Commencement Ceremonies     

As a result of this information we received, which substantially limited our ability to guarantee a July outdoor graduation, we restarted our plans for a virtual graduation in case the anticipated changes for outdoor graduations do not come to fruition.  This is an effort to ensure our students have at least one graduation experience and to provide an opportunity to memorialize graduation with a forum to take pictures.

Our initial plans for the virtual graduation options included students sending in pictures/videos taken at home.  We would use the pictures or a graduation picture from the yearbook to create a virtual graduation video.  The other option was to use the indoor stage in the theater (indoor limitation is 10 people) and film students walking across the stage.  Yesterday we were able to secure the use of an outdoor stage from the county.  This enabled us to expand the number of people from 10 (indoor) to 25 (outdoor), which streamlines what would have been a very long process.  Please note: In an effort to accommodate requests for additional family members, we’ll modify our plan from two guests per student to one car per student.   Also students will receive their cords when they arrive on campus. 

We want to be absolutely clear.  We’ve already prepared two separate plans for an outdoor graduation that are palatable and will enable us to comply with social distancing requirements.  The two plans are similar, with minor differences.  The first is for the students to be allocated a fixed amount of space on the graduation field (in full compliance with the state’s requirements). The two guests/parents would be allocated a space in both sets of stands, enabling everyone to be in compliance with social media guidelines.  The second plan is to have the parents on the field with their child in a space that would allow everyone to be in compliance of social distancing requirements.  There are some nominal differences in regards to walking up to pick up a diploma, but in general, the plans are relatively the same.  

We were, and still are, prepared to conduct an outdoor graduation.  However, the Governor’s big announcement was not what we anticipated.  We must remain compliant with the Executive Orders.  The link that is attached above clearly states: “These ceremonies must meet the relevant capacity limitation on inperson gatherings in place at the time of the ceremony.”   One would need a crystal ball to predict what the regulations might be on July 16th - nobody knows at this time!  The outdoor limitation is 25 as of today and we must be compliant with the Governor’s Executive Order.

We are on the same page with our preference to have an outdoor graduation.  Like many of the comments on social media and emails state, we struggle with the logic of how so many things can be opened (beaches, boardwalk, etc.), yet we cannot have an outdoor graduation.  It has been very frustrating, especially when at first we couldn’t have outdoor graduations, then we could with undefined details, and now we’re restricted to 25 again.  

We recognize that the plan presented last night is not ideal and the timing may be difficult.  If you’re unable to attend at the defined time, please contact Mr. Mike Holm (mholm@clearviewregional.edu).  He will coordinate any schedule conflicts to enable you to participate.  Also, we will be able to extend the hours into the evening and add Wednesday as an optional make-up day.  

John Horchak III, Superintendent

Keith Brook, High School Principal

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