BARNEGAT – School officials had a message for their students: the sky is the limit.
A plane carrying a banner saying “Miss & love our students – One Barnegat” was seen flying over the township recently. It had been coordinated by the school district.
Superintendent Brian Latwis said members of the administration were brainstorming ways to connect with students when Business Administrator Stephen Brennan made the suggestion.
The feedback has been really great. “It’s all over social media,” Latwis said, adding he got tons of positive emails about it.
It cost $600 for the hour, he said. It came from a budget line that rewards student activity.
“We have such a great community – such a tight-knit community,” that they really responded well to the statement.
With social distancing regulations, it’s important to reach out and show you care, he said.
High school seniors are missing out on some important bookends to their school career, and the district is trying to find ways to still have events that have meaning to them. Staff have even counted how many people could be on a field at once, while still following social distancing guidelines.
As of right now, graduation is planned for June 17, he said. The district is currently planning a drive-in style graduation with movie theater screens.
The transportation department delivered caps and gowns to the graduates, who were encouraged to decorate the caps like a normal graduation, he said. The virtual graduation would be filmed. The speeches would be recorded. The march of each student would be filmed.
If the state allows in-person graduations, the district will quickly change plans to that instead, he said. Whatever the state is allowing – that’s what will be given to the students.
Even if they have a traditional graduation, it will still be nice to have this virtual one filmed for posterity, he noted.
As for senior prom, that would be more difficult to manage with social distancing, he said. The district is reaching out to the parent advisory committee and getting input.
By the time social distancing regulations are lifted, it could be six months from now, and students might not want a dance then. They might want something like a reunion held on homecoming or Thanksgiving weekend instead. The senior class has money in its account and there are options being discussed on how to use it.
*Note: since Governor Murphy announced that graduations will be permitted after July 6, several school districts are ironing out plans. Stay tuned for future updates.*