On March 4, an email was sent to the class of 2021 graduating seniors and recent graduates of the class of 2020 at the University of Connecticut, notifying them of the possibility of an in-person commencement ceremony during the week of May 7 to May 12. The email stated that the planning of an in-person ceremony would depend on the anticipated rate of attendance from graduates to be estimated by a survey due Wednesday.
The survey is being used to gather opinions on an in-person graduation ceremony held outdoors at Rentschler field in East Hartford. The concept pitched in the survey emphasised that any in-person ceremonies would be in full compliance with current state guidelines including proper safety measures and the enforcement of physical distancing.
The survey states that attendance would be capped at approximately 4,000 to 5,000 attendees, leaving graduates with two or three guests each. The commencement ceremonies would be split up by college, similarly to how they have been in the past, with potential for multiple smaller ceremonies to ensure safety. All ceremonies would be live streamed and would occur rain or shine.
The class of 2020 ceremonies would include graduates from Aug. 2019, Dec. 2019, May 2020, and Aug. 2020. The class of 2021 ceremonies would include graduates from Dec. 2020 and candidates from May 2021 and Aug. 2021.
Results of the survey will be used to determine if and how the in-person commencement ceremonies will be held, including the number of ceremonies, eligible students, guest availability and overall capacity of the events. In the description of the survey, it stated that attendance to the in-person ceremonies could be restricted to those who complete the survey, but this detail has not been confirmed.
While most seniors are very excited about the possibility of an in-person graduation, there are still several members who have yet to make a decision due to lack of information about the details of the event.
“I will fill it out on behalf of the class of 2021, because I know a lot of seniors want to graduate in person, but I don’t know yet if I will attend,” said class of 2021 graduate Ally Urban.
On the other hand, several class of 2020 seniors seem to be disinterested in an in-person commencement ceremony, since most of them have graduated a year earlier than the potential dates.
Class of 2020 graduate Erica De La Garrigue said, “When the rescheduled class of 2020 ceremonies in October got cancelled, I kinda just was over the idea of graduating in person. I don’t think I would attend an in-person ceremony, but I think the class of 2021 would be much more enthusiastic about an in-person event.”
Regardless of whether or not the University holds an in-person commencement ceremony, UConn will celebrate all class of 2021 graduates in a live, virtual ceremony on May 8, 2021 at 12 p.m., similar to the one held last year for the class of 2020 graduates.
Members of the class of 2020 and class of 2021 are being asked to complete the survey, and their class standing will be verified by their 7-digit PeopleSoft ID number. The survey closes on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at 12 p.m.
The survey can be accessed here.