By Angelina Jahn
Due to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases, Grand Rapids Community College will now be limiting the graduation ceremonies to only graduating students with no guests.
Michigan is currently experiencing a 45% increase in hospitalization due to COVID-19, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. This precaution helps ensure that graduates will be able to experience commencement in a safe environment. Friends and family will be able to celebrate the graduates’ achievements by viewing the ceremonies on a livestream held on the GRCC Youtube channel, which will also be accessible as a regular video anytime after the livestream ends.
To reduce the amount of people gathering, graduation will be split up into four ceremonies, all held at the GRCC Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse. Those receiving a degree in the category of Arts and Sciences will be attending on Friday, April 30 at either 4 p.m. or 7 p.m. On Saturday, May 1, graduates receiving a degree in the category of Workforce Development will be attending at either 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. Graduating students will be assigned their time by GRCC to ensure that these ceremonies will comply with social distancing guidelines. Students who do not wish to participate in person will have their name read during the ceremony, and may submit a photo of themselves to be shown on screen.
In addition to the splitting up of ceremonies, GRCC will also be following their regular COVID-19 protocol. “We will do a temperature check, students will fill out a health screen, we’ll have the lineup areas set up in such a way that social distancing will happen, and all graduates will be required to wear a mask,” said Associate Provost Tina Hoxie, dean of Student Affairs in a call with The Collegiate.
“We’re making these changes out of an abundance of caution, along with other careful planning for an in-person commencement celebration experience for our students,” said Hoxie in a press release. “Commencement is a special moment in the lives of our students. Streaming the events live will allow students to share this milestone with friends, family, and other supporters since it is not possible for them to attend in person.”