UVA Wise Announces In-Person Commencement Plans

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise has announced in-person Commencement ceremonies will be held for the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2020 following Gov. Ralph Northam’s new guidance on graduations for the Commonwealth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commencement ceremonies are no longer classified as social gatherings. This means colleges and universities in Virginia may plan in-person Commencement ceremonies as long as the institutions adhere to specific health and safety measures designed to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. UVA Wise plans to hold Commencement on May 8 at 11 a.m. for the Class of 2021 and on May 9 at 1 p.m. for the Class of 2020. The College also stated that COVID-19 restrictions could change at anytime, depending on the rate of transmission and other factors in Virginia.

“We have the green light, for now, to make plans for graduation based on guidance that will be in place on April 1, 2021,” Chancellor Donna P. Henry said. “The new requirements allow us to hold Commencement at Carl Smith Stadium based on 30 percent of facility capacity. This allows us to bring 1,170 people, including graduates, faculty, Commencement staff, and guests into the stadium. Graduates will receive tickets to admit three guests. Families may sit together, but must be separated by 10 feet from others, and the same goes for graduates, faculty, and those in the platform party. As you can see, it is not an easy task. Our staff is already working on the spacing logistics and the Commencement Committee is meeting weekly.”

UVA Wise will release additional information in coming weeks regarding specific steps required to meet state guidelines.

“We ask that all adhere to the health requirements that will be in place, which includes facemasks, social distancing, and rules regarding entering and exiting the stadium in a safe manner,” Henry said. “I am thrilled at the opportunity to offer an in-person Commencement. The goal at UVA Wise is to see our graduates walk across the stage to celebrate this major milestone. Our faculty, staff and I look forward to Commencement each year.”

More details will be released as further guidance is received from the Virginia Department of Health. For information regarding the news release, contact Kathy Still at 276-376-1027.