The ball can be a direct fire after all. NJ schools ‘thrilled’ with advice on dancing, graduation.

Friday was supposed to be decision day at Clearview Regional High School.

Would he start selling tickets to an outdoor ball? Or would officials advise students that they couldn’t plan a large outdoor event because it wouldn’t meet Governor Phil Murphy’s meeting limits?

But new advice on proms and graduation ceremonies released by the state this week eliminated the problem. With a senior class of around 380 students, Clearview can move forward with an event that falls into the 500-person limit for outdoor gatherings.

Even better? Students at Mullica Hill School can actually dance, but with masks and good social distancing.

“We are more than thrilled,” said Mike Vicente, district director of student activities and athletics, after hearing the news on Monday. “You can’t imagine how excited we were.”

The new guidelines end speculation that schools would be forced to juggle multiple options or contingency plans until the last possible minute or that parents would be forced to throw fortune pledges like they did in the past. last spring and summer. And that ensures that many students will have a proper – but not entirely normal – graduation ceremony after their high school experiences turn upside down in the middle of their undergraduate year.

“We can’t help but be happy to have the opportunity to plan the ceremony each of our seniors and their families envisioned when they first entered our campus as ninth grade students. , four years ago, ”said Jeffrey Moore, Superintendent of Hunterdon. Central Regional High School in Flemington, one of the largest high schools in the state.

Murphy announced this week that the limit for outdoor gatherings will increase from 200 to 500 – with the hope that it will rise again by June. It also announced it will increase the capacity limit for New Jersey dining events, such as weddings and balls, to 50% and up to 250 people starting May 10. The dance floors for these events may be open.

Murphy said the distinction between allowing dancing at balls and weddings, but not in restaurants and nightclubs, is a “calculated risk.”

“These are big events,” Murphy said of balls and weddings. “It sure is a bit of a fine line.”

Schools spent months planning a variety of scenarios, including outdoor balls. The Freehold Regional School District has previously had success with mostly outdoor junior balls held in large tents with cocktail-style catering stations with indoor tables available for students, the district said.

“Our plans were finalized and we were already ready to move forward… full steam ahead as we had planned,” said Superintendent Charles Sampson.

Mount Olive Public Schools may need to hold two graduation ceremonies instead of one, but that way students will be able to secure tickets for two family members, Superintendent Robert Zywicki said.

Even though the end-of-year rituals are slightly different, the fact that they take place is a victory for the students, he said.

“These kids, after all they’ve lost, they must have the ball and the holiday season,” Zywicki said. “I am happy to see that dancing will be allowed. What’s the point of having a prom without dancing? “

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Adam Clark can be reached at [email protected]. Got a tip or story idea about New Jersey schools? Send it here.

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Keith Johnson

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