As the entire world grapples with the novel coronavirus, schools and universities remain shut down with students attending classes remotely for the foreseeable future. But, what does this mean for The Class of 2020? Graduation season is quickly approaching, but social distancing is still in place, which leaves many seniors with the stress of not knowing if they’ll be celebrated this year. Each school and institution has started to come up with their own plans and we’re so happy to say that, yes, graduations will go on -- even if they look a little different this year!
There’s no denying that finishing an education and receiving a diploma is one of the most important milestones one can achieve. Years of classes and countless hours studying makes the thought of graduation day that much sweeter. High school and college administrators around the country have emphatically agreed that The Class of 2020 should and will be celebrated.
Some schools, like Harvard University and Miami University in Ohio have moved their May commencements to virtual ceremonies with plans for in-person celebrations in the future. Miami University in Ohio President Gregory Crawford released a statement announcing his new plans. “We now envision two components to the commencement ceremonies for the class of 2020. On May 16th, the actual commencement date, we are preparing a virtual recognition of our graduates, to mark the official conferment of degrees,” Crawford wrote. “In the fall, we are planning a weekend dedicated to celebrating and recognizing our graduates and their achievements.”
Other schools, like Keene State College have taken this as an opportunity to provide a unique experience for their graduates to be celebrated in the fall during their annual Alumni Weekend, as long as it is safe to do so. University of California Berkeley has taken a different approach, and while making the decision to postpone their May graduation, they’re asking The Class of 2020 for their feedback on what the next steps should be regarding commencement. “This is a postponement, and as a next step, we would like your advice on how and when we mark this milestone in your lives,” Chancellor Carol Christ wrote in a message to students along with a link to a survey. “Your achievements certainly warrant a celebration, and we hope that you will ring in with your thoughts.” Christ’s message went on to give options of a virtual commencement and/or participation in the December graduation or May 2021.
Quite possibly the most inventive commencement shift happened in Japan where robots armed with iPads took the stage while the graduates attended the ceremony and controlled the robots remotely. The creativity has been fun to watch!
Institutions have stressed that despite the changes, it’s still important to celebrate the milestone with the proper graduation regalia, as it is a symbol of an academic achievement. We’ve seen plans in place for colleges to mail students their attire and encourage taking photos and sharing with the school community on the original graduation date and to keep ready for when it’s time to safely walk across the stage. Some schools are even putting together look-books of students in their graduation attire to remember the steps taken during this unprecedented time.
Our team continues to operate with a modified business solution, complete with remote and isolated order processing locations. Our goal is to safely deliver honor and recognition gear to schools and institutions to have ready for their students once graduation dates have been reworked. We understand the importance of graduation regalia and what it means to students and faculty and want graduates to mark their accomplishments in the way in which they deserve.
The resilience of The Class of 2020 is on full display and we know it will carry through to their professional lives. Our team will be cheering extra loud for these students during the graduation season, whether the caps are being tossed in the air on campus in the future or in the comfort of living rooms this spring!