Graduation Officially in Person

Students raising their caps and degrees. Photo retrieved from https://www.excelsior.edu/article/when-can-i-finally-graduate/.

Evy Brunelle ~ News Editor

     The University of Lynchburg officially announced that for commencement, graduation will be held in person, and each person is allowed a maximum of two guests.

     Dr. Christine Terry, a professor at the University of Lynchburg, is fully vaccinated and plans on attending graduation. “I am excited that we will have in person graduation (for the classes of 2020 and 2021). I love our traditional graduation with faculty lining the Dell to wish the graduates good luck. I know that this graduation will be different, but I still look forward to having an in person send-off for our graduates.” 

     Dr. Terry shared her hopes that most adult guests, if eligible, will have gotten a vaccine by the time they travel to campus, or not come at all if they are sick. She said, “I think that requiring proof of either of these would be a logistical nightmare. All of the students and faculty have done an amazing job keeping our campus safe by wearing masks, and I hope that our graduates’ friends and family will do the same.” 

     Jeremy Craft, the choir director at the University, is thrilled for graduation to be in person. “I am excited for our community to celebrate the achievements of our students. Lynchburg has worked so diligently to keep the campus safe and I am glad they found a way to maintain guidelines and still give our graduates a culminating experience.” 

     Craft continued, “The choir will most likely not sing live. Activities which expel excess aerosols are still under heavier guidelines than normal, daily activities. Between appropriate social distancing and the technological logistics, it is probably not feasible this semester for a live performance. However, the choir has created many virtual choir videos this academic year and all will be available to the community for use during commencement activities.” 

     Craft agrees that having guests provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before arriving to campus is a good idea. He explained, “I think that it is a responsible choice to at least request that off-campus guests have a negative COVID test. While we want our graduates to have the whole experience, which includes family or friends, we still have the responsibility of keeping our campus safe – even in the last days of the semester. It would be nice to require COVID vaccine proof, but Virginia and many other states are at such different points in distribution, it would be unfair to require something that some individuals do not have access to.” 

     Dr. David Perault, an environmental science professor at the University, also weighed in. “The University has shown that by following COVID safety protocols, we can safely host events in person. I do not see commencement ceremonies being any different.” 

     Dr. Perault is also happy to attend graduation, but said, “I would also be happy to give my spot to a student’s relative or guest if that were possible.”

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