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The latest on plans for 2021 Commencement

By Cait Kemp

COVID-19 has caused cancellations, postponement and alterations to countless milestones in people’s lives. With the regulations on large gatherings, many events that students eagerly anticipate are forced to be held differently than normal.

Springfield College has put into action a planning committee to decide what to do with the 2021 Commencement Ceremony, a huge event in seniors’ academic careers.

Recently, the senior class received an email regarding the plan as of now for the 2021 Commencement Ceremony that has had to be altered due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Commencement Steering Committee has been meeting to discuss the potential options for the ceremony that coincide with the Massachusetts guidelines for large gatherings.

The committee is continuing to meet to finalize the details and make clear what they can and cannot do, but the plan is to have a commencement ceremony on campus this spring. The celebration will begin with a virtual ceremony on Friday, May 14 and be followed by several in-person ceremonies on Saturday, May 15 and Sunday, May 16.

This plan is an attempt to create an atmosphere that gives students a chance to be in the moment with their peers, as opposed to solely behind a screen.

Although not ideal, it is still an opportunity to feel a sense of normalcy during such an important time in the lives of these seniors.

There will be no guests allowed at the in-person ceremonies with the current regulations. However, if rules on the number of people at outdoor gatherings change, this decision will be revisited to consider the possibility of family and friends having the opportunity to attend.

The schedule for the ceremony will be divided by programs throughout the two days, with a morning and afternoon session each day. To be able to attend the in-person programs, students must have proof of a negative COVID test within the past 72-hours of the day of their ceremony.

Saturday morning is the Health Sciences ceremony, with Arts and Sciences in the afternoon. Sunday hosts the Physical Education, Performance and Sport Leadership ceremony in the morning and the Social Work and Behavioral Sciences later that day. Each ceremony will be for both undergrad and graduate students in the programs.

All ceremonies will be live streamed for community members, students and loved ones to be able to watch the important celebration.

This is yet another event that has to be changed, but Springfield College is working hard to give students the best possible experience with the given situation. An outdoor in-person ceremony is a piece of normalcy that will hopefully help the seniors celebrate their graduation in a more fun and fulfilling way. As details continue to be sorted out, a more finalized plan will be on its way in the coming weeks.

Photo Courtesy of Joe Arruda

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