New Jersey schools make graduation plans as some summer camps cancel programs

TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Joy and pride filled the lawn outside Trenton Central High School on Wednesday as about 500 signs went up, each with a picture of a graduating senior.

"I spent four years of high school and just holding that sign up, looking at myself, it's like, 'I really made it. I really made it to the finish mark,'" said India Bracey, a senior at Trenton Central High School.

"Just seeing that sign it gave me a spark of hope. Because I know the administration is doing everything they can to compensate for the lack of a senior year we're going to have," said senior Ayouba Swaray.

But after Tuesday's announcement that New Jersey schools can hold an outdoor graduation as of July 6, their principal is determined to find a venue.

"Our field may not do it, but we are looking at other options. We're hoping to have an announcement and a decision within the next couple of days," said Principal Hope Grant.

On Wednesday night, the New Jersey Department of Education released guidance regarding commencement ceremonies to honor 2020 graduates.

READ MORE: New Jersey Department of Education Provides Guidance on Commencement Ceremonies

The guidance outlines three options for K-12 school commencement ceremonies: virtual; drive-through/drive-in; modified in-person, outdoor ceremonies.

Decisions will be made on the local level, officials say.

Beginning July 6, drive-through/drive-in and modified in-person, outdoor ceremonies will be permitted. These ceremonies must follow strict social distancing protocols.

Parents say they are still waiting on a decision about New Jersey summer camps and child care.

"You've got day care, youth sports, summer camps - all of which are at a fever pitch in terms of putting together a responsible set of guidelines for folks," said Murphy.

Tall Pines Day Camp in Williamstown, New Jersey announced there will be no camp this summer. The director posted a message online Wednesday.
"Our hearts tell us that we all want to be here together, but our heads remind us that it's more important that you stay safe," said Camp Director Andrew Yankowitz.

Camper Sydney Winokur, 8, and her mom, Galit, were hoping for five weeks of fun at Tall Pines.

"I'm very anxious about what we're going to do and how we're going to fill our time. It's not like we can even go inside to a museum or anything," said Galit Winokur.

"My cousins have a pool so we could probably go there," said Sydney.

Murphy said Wednesday he's confident that some kind of summer camp will be possible this summer, as long as the numbers keep trending in the right direction. He said he hopes to decide on camps and daycare soon.


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