On Wednesday evening, University President Jim Ryan announced potential changes in plans for the Class of 2021’s graduation ceremony, after a Mar. 3 email noting final exercises would be at least partially virtual due to COVID-19.
“The changes announced will allow UVA far more flexibility in planning a ceremony for the Class of 2021,” Pres. Ryan said in the update.
This statement comes after Virginia Governor Northam’s report earlier in the day that limits on crowd sizes will be reduced for graduations in Virginia. Previously, graduations – classified as social gatherings – were limited to 25 individuals outdoors and 10 people indoors.
Per Gov. Northam’s press release, outdoor graduation events will be capped at 5000 people or 30% of the venue capacity, while indoor graduation events will be restricted to 500 people, or 30% of the venue capacity, whichever is composed of fewer people.
Attendees at these events must wear face masks and maintain social distancing.
“We are releasing this guidance early to allow schools to begin planning for this year’s events,” said Gov. Northam. “While graduation and commencement ceremonies will still be different than they were in the past, this is a tremendous step forward for all of our schools, our graduates, and their families.”
Pres. Ryan added in his update that the administration “will work hard” in the coming weeks to craft a modified plan for the Class of 2021 in line with the new guidance. This plan will be released no later than April 2.
“I’m grateful to the Governor for enabling us to envision a safe and meaningful graduation,” said Pres. Ryan. He also thanked the University community for their patience during the pandemic.