North Jersey News Roundup for May 27, 2020

New Jersey schools will be allowed to hold in-person graduation ceremonies beginning July 6. Gov. Phil Murphy said the state will release guidance May 27 for social distancing requirements and other necessary health and safety measures. Multiple ceremonies might need to be held across different times and days to ensure proper social distancing as some graduating classes may be too large for a single ceremony with social distancing.

Drew University plans to open its campus for the fall semester on Aug. 16, with classes beginning Aug. 24 pending any related executive orders from Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey’s reopening plan. The calendar will be adjusted to accommodate an early move-out prior to the Thanksgiving holiday with post-holiday classes and final exams will take place remotely. The Daily Record

New Jersey made it through the Memorial Day weekend largely without incident after Gov. Phil Murphy relaxed some social distancing guidelines designed to stave off future coronavirus outbreaks. While there were reports of incidents in Monmouth Beach and Long Beach Township, and the use of face masks wasn’t quite up to the governor’s liking, “what we saw were very good signs,” said Murphy. PoliticoNJ

Houses of worship are not exempted from indoor gatherings of more than 10 people because of the coronavirus pandemic, stated Gov. Phil Murphy. Citations over the Memorial Day weekend were issued for four services in the state, including one that had more than 100 people. “This is a question of doing it responsibly and doing it at the right time,” Murphy said.

An executive order allows professional sports teams to resume practice and, if their leagues allowed it, to start their seasons. At this point, the order only applies to professional sports teams, due to them having ample resources to create stricter sanitation schedules and enforce other restrictions to cut off the spread of COVID-19.

New Jersey officials urged parents to ensure their kids are properly immunized to protect them from measles, mumps and other infectious diseases. Data compiled through the New Jersey Immunization Information System shows a 40% decline in vaccines for children under 2 years and a 60% drop in inoculations for those over 2 years between March 1 and April 20, when compared with the same period last year. NJ Spotlight

Merck & Co. is trying to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus. The New Jersey-based company said the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority would help fund the joint effort with IAVI, a nonprofit scientific research organization. The vaccine effort would build on research used to develop Merck’s Ebola Zaire virus vaccine.

New Jersey native Bill Stepien was named deputy campaign manager of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign. Stepien had been national field director for Trump’s first presidential campaign after managing Gov. Chris Christie two runs for governor. He was previously New Jersey state Republican chairman in 2014. The New York Times

Twitter flagged two of President Donald Trump’s tweets about vote-by-mail with a fact-check warning. The social media company added a warning phrase to two Trump tweets that called mail-in ballots “fraudulent” and predicted that “mail boxes will be robbed.” Under the tweets, there is now a link reading “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” with fact checks.

The state Supreme Court unanimously removed John Russo Jr. from judicial office, permanently barring Russo from presiding over a New Jersey courtroom again because of “repeated and serious acts of misconduct.” The decision was expected after a three-judge panel recommended in January to remove Russo from the bench for violating the Code of Judicial Conduct on at least four occasions.

High Point Regional High School became one of the last schools in Sussex County to adopt a policy on transgender student rights. The school will allow transgender students to use restrooms in accordance with their stated gender identity; upon request, address transgender students in an alternate name reflective of their stated gender identity; and maintain two sets of records for transgender students regardless of whether the student has undergone a legal name change or if his or her parents approve. New Jersey Herald

And finally…New Jersey’s suburbs are expected to become more attractive to home buyers post-coronavirus. The Record

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