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After months of questions and concerns, Stan State has announced that it will be holding on-campus Commencement ceremonies for both the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021 next month. With the first day of ceremonies being as early as May 20, students and faculty alike can now begin a countdown to a day that some have been looking forward to for over a year.

On April 9, Stan State sent a notice to students' emails as well as posted an update on the school’s website announcing the decision to host smaller in-person Commencement ceremonies that will allow for students to experience an in-person graduation while also abiding by COVID guidelines set by the state.

In order to avoid confusion on who will be able to partake in the ceremonies, Stan State’s website provided additional information on who was eligible to participate. “Students are eligible to participate for the Class of 2020 Commencement if they have cleared for graduation for fall 2019, spring 2020, or summer 2020 terms. Students who have applied for graduation for Class of 2021 are eligible to participate for Commencement if they have applied for fall 2020, spring 2020, or summer 2021 terms.”

Andre Davis (sophomore, Biology) explains his view on the pros and cons of the in-person graduation. “I feel having it be in-person is good because it allows for your family to watch you complete college and make it further into adulthood, but because COVID-19 is still a problem, I do worry about that aspect of it.”

Many students may share one of the opinions expressed by Davis, if not some variation of both. In order to reassure participants and guests as well as to abide by state guidelines to make the event possible, Stan State has also announced additional rules pertaining to the event.

One rule that may have a large impact on how students plan for graduation is the limit imposed on how many guests each graduate may bring. Currently the limit is set at two guests per graduate. While this will help reduce the potential spread of the virus among attendees, it may prove to be problematic for graduates with large families who would normally want to attend the event as a group.

“If I were walking at graduation, I wouldn’t know where to start in terms of who I would pick to be my guests. Between parents, grandparents, godparents, and everyone else, there feels like there would be no right choice. I get the logic behind why there would be a limit, but it doesn’t make the decision any easier,” explains Chrysta Borba (alumni, Sociology)

In addition to making a choice on who to bring as a guest, graduates will also be faced with the task of getting everything prepared for the event with approximately one month to prepare. While graduates of some majors may have an extra day or two to prepare thanks to the schedule of ceremonies, there are bound to be some students who will be wishing for additional time to prepare.

As graduates move closer to the day of their ceremony, it will be important to observe the status of the local region in regard to COVID-19 cases.

“Please note that these events will be held with restrictions as required under the red tier guidance for large outdoor and live events, as well as consideration of California Department of Public Health guidance for Commencement and graduation ceremonies. The events are subject to change and contingent upon state, local and county guidance,” notes Stan State’s website. Unfortunately, this presents the potential that the commencement ceremonies take place in a different format or at a different date and time.

Many graduating students may spend the upcoming month preparing for what will hopefully be a significant day representing a major milestone in their education. While it may be coming a little late for some, the hosting of an in-person commencement ceremony is a step in the right direction to celebrate the major accomplishment of attending graduation despite the trials and hurdles of a pandemic.

For more information, dates, and FAQs about the upcoming commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021, check out Stan State’s Commencement webpage.

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