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NEW May 29: Graduation Plans for Class of 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff,

FYI: The main focus of this message will be on the Graduation Ceremonies for the Class of 2020. We are sending to the entire community so you can know of our plans and decisions. A separate message regarding other ceremonies (i.e. 8th grade promotions, 5th grade moving ups) are coming directly from your building principals.

The governor’s decision this week and the updated guidance we received this morning from the state has allowed us to create the framework for our graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2020. Many of you have likely heard that we are now allowed to have in-person, outdoor graduation ceremonies. This is good news! However, it is important that our entire community realizes that these ceremonies also require strict adherence to certain mandates, namely:

  • They must be scheduled for after July 8 (based on new guidance from today);
  • Social distancing guidelines must be followed;
  • The attendance at the ceremony must not exceed the statewide limits for gatherings on the date of the ceremony:
    • For example, hypothetically, if were to hold it today, that limit would be 25; 
    • The general consensus is that by the time July 8 comes, those limits will be increased to allow us to have larger groups of people;
    • IMPORTANT: Because of this mandate, the exact breakdown of how many graduates and guests will be allowed at one time is impossible to know at this time. Our goal is to have as many in attendance at one time as the law allows. 

There are other rules, but those are the big ones. They will present a challenge, but we feel they are all worth it in order to give our students the in-person ceremony they want and that they have earned!

We know that some graduates and families may be unable or unwilling to attend an in-person ceremony in July due to personal schedules or choices - or due to the fact that they may have already left for college or military assignment. We also want to respect the suggestions that we should not let June 19th go by without celebrating the last day of their Senior year. 

Our goal is to create a collective experience that doesn’t leave anyone out, and that celebrates the journey they have been on for the past 13 years. We believe it is imperative to do all we can to recognize the hard work these students have done to earn their diplomas in the face of an unprecedented national challenge.


With all this in mind and to respect the many needs of hundreds of graduates and families in both high schools, the plan below allows us to celebrate the Class of 2020 in TWO WAYS:


A Virtual Graduation on June 19 that will feature:

  • Staff and student speeches, including the Valedictorian/Salutatorian addresses;
  • Music presentations from our student chorus and musicians;
  • Individual, personal videos submitted by graduates wearing their caps and gowns (which we will deliver to them). In these 10-second videos they can send a personal message that will be broadcast in our video;
  • Submitted photos of their decorated caps if they wish; and
  • Submitted photos of graduates with their families if they wish.

An In-Person Graduation Ceremony on either July 8th, 9th or 10th.

This ceremony will be designed to be as close to a traditional ceremony as possible (with social distancing modifications) and will feature:

  • A procession graduates to Pomp and Circumstance;
  • Students in caps and gowns, held on the football field at students’ high schools;
  • A modified ceremony featuring fresh remarks from students and staff;
  • The exact date and time will be finalized next week once we confer with our photographer and finalize other details. We will also be releasing a “rain date,’’ as these ceremonies must be held outdoors;
  • Please remember that the exact organization of the ceremony is IMPOSSIBLE to know at this time, as we do not know the limits to how many people may assemble at one time. Our goal is to hold as large a gathering as is feasible and lawful;
  • If we need to break the ceremony up into two or more sessions, the times for however many ceremonies we need to hold will be staggered during the course of the same day;
  • FYI: Please remember that we cannot know how many guests will be allowed to attend until we know the size limitations. We will keep you updated as soon as we know more.

IMPORTANT DETAILS FOR GRADUATES AND GRADUATE FAMILIES:

Caps and gowns and instructions for how to submit student videos and photos will be delivered early next week. Please pay close attention to the Class of 2020 pages on your high school websites for any updates or details.

Jackson Memorial Cap and Gown Deliveries Will be THIS MONDAY, June 1 between 9 AM and 11 AM

  • Someone needs to be home to accept the delivery. We will not leave it unattended at your home.
  • If you are not home, pick up dates can be arranged on Tuesday, June 2 and Wednesday, June 3 at JMHS in the Memorial Office between 10 a.m. and noon
  • If you have any questions related to delivery, contact: 732-833-4623.

Jackson Liberty High School Cap and Gown Delivery will be TUESDAY, June 2 between 10 AM and 12 PM.

  • Someone needs to be home to accept the delivery. We will not leave it unattended at your home.
  • If you are not home, pick up dates can be arranged on Wednesday, June 3 or Thursday June 4th 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
  • If you have any questions related to delivery, contact 732-833-4700.

Sincerely,

Your Jackson School District Administrative Team