Evy Brunelle ~ News Editor
Questions continue to loom about graduation day 2021 at the University of Lynchburg.
Should graduation be in person? Should guests be allowed? What about the Class of 2020’s graduation? Graduating seniors, Caelan Samson, Hannah Pine, and Caitlyn Roderick weighed in with their opinions.
Samson believes that graduation should be in person. He explained, “Having a graduation online would be a waste of time and not many people would want to attend, [and] if we have graduation in person, we should be allowed to have at least one guest. Graduation is for our families as much as it is for [students].”
Continuing, Samson said, “With vaccinations still rolling out, I do not believe that they should be required because not everyone will be able to get them in time.”
Pine also agrees that graduation should be in person. She said, “I thought a logical way of doing it would be to separate us by our degrees, either a BA or a BS. If we needed to split it up further we could also do groups of majors. I think that the school is sticking a little too close to an ‘all or nothing’ plan.”
Pine also supports having limited guests. “As long as we are smart and we actually hold people to our rules, we should be fine,” she explained. “I think the issue that would arise would be a lack of enforcing COVID policies on guests.”
As for whether or not guests should get vaccinated before coming, Pine said, “I think vaccinations should be requested at the least. However, many areas do not have access to it or have it in enough numbers to be able to distribute it. I think guests that are vaccinated should absolutely be allowed to come.”
Roderick, however, feels differently. He stated, “As much as I would love, and I am sure everyone else would love, to hold graduation in person, I do not think it is safe enough just yet.”
He explained, “I think the majority of people need to be vaccinated before allowing mass gathering events to resume. It would be difficult at this time to ensure the students, faculty, staff, family and friends are all fully vaccinated. That being said, since it would be difficult to ensure everyone is vaccinated, I do not think having guests right now would be feasible. While some students are fortunate to have loved ones who are vaccinated, others are not. If we do have an in-person graduation, with guests, of course they should be vaccinated. Personally, I feel incredible guilt if my unvaccinated family attended and contracted the virus shortly after watching me graduate.”
The Class of 2020 was already not able to have a graduation ceremony, and now their make-up graduation day is officially cancelled again this year.
Samson said, “The Class of 2020 graduation is long overdue, but I feel like it would never be the same at this point. People have moved on and many might not even be able to make the trip at this time with the pandemic still affecting us.”
Pine feels conflicted. She explained, “I feel really bad for the graduates, but also most of them are not in the area anymore. I think that they should do a survey to find out what the class of 2020 wants, and how many of them would attend an in-person graduation, because with smaller numbers it should be possible.”
Roderick also says, “I feel disappointed on behalf of the Class of 2020. However, since we are still in a pandemic it is probably best to continue avoiding all mass gatherings. Things are looking better now as time goes on, and hopefully things will revert to some sort of normalcy soon and events as important and monumental as graduations can commence!”