The IU Administration has made the decision to hold an in-person, outdoor commencement ceremony for graduates, after cancelling last year’s commencement ceremony.
Despite the different look to commencement this year, some students are still excited to be able to enjoy their graduation ceremony.
“I am excited to graduate and I’m glad to know that I get to walk across the stage for my degree, even if my parents and family won’t be there, it’s still important to me,” Hayden Seeyle, a senior literature and English writing major, said.
The ceremony will have COVID-19 precautions such as masking, social distancing and pre-event testing. The setup of commencement will also be different, featuring fenced off areas for graduates and ticketing.
“This isn’t the same commencement procedures we have had in pre-COVID days, but we are trying to give our students the best commencement ceremony we can,” IU Southeast Chancellor Dr. Ray Wallace said.
According to the IU Administration, they are still working out details on making sure commencement is not a COVID-19 spread-based event and to ensure the safety of those who choose to attend.
“We are taking so many precautions, between all the testing procedures, masking, and social distancing,” Jon Pollock, IUS manager of special events and projects said.
IUS students are looking ahead towards the future about what this commencement ceremony means.
“I’m glad that we are doing some sort of commencement,” Seelye said. “It means that we are a little closer to going back to ‘normal’.”
The administration recognized the importance of commencement to students. They also stressed the importance of the health and safety of graduates.
“I want our graduates to be successful alumni, not COVID-19 statistics,” Wallace said. “If they want to blame somebody they can blame me because I just want them to be safe.”
Since the end of January, Indiana’s COVID-19 numbers are beginning to decline, according to The New York Times. In an email sent to students last week, IU Southeast President Michael A. McRobbie said the decision to hold an in-person commencement was made with the “best advice from medical professionals.”
IU has its own medical response team as well as following CDC regulations. Both of these groups are going to play a role in how IU Southeast will respond to COVID-19 news while organizing the spring commencement ceremony.
“We’re trying to find a happy medium where we can be as safe as we can and also give our graduates a day of recognition,” Pollock said.