Elon University announced they will host an in-person ceremony for the class of 2021 with a limited number of guests being allowed to attend. Students will receive at least two guest tickets, according to an email from Jeff Stein, chair of the Ready & Resilient Committee. Commencement is set for Friday, May 21.
There will be multiple ceremonies on May 21 to comply with state mass gathering guidelines. Students will be assigned one ceremony to attend, a final decision on the time and location will be determined by April 16.
Masks and physical distancing will be required at the ceremonies, according to Stein's email. The university is considering holding the ceremonies in Schar Center.
In February, the university presented three possible commencement options for the class of 2021 – a fully virtual ceremony, an in-person ceremony for students with no guests and an in-person ceremony with a limited number of guests.
The university looked at state and local COVID-19 conditions, vaccination progress, and health restrictions and guidelines, including North Carolina’s limitations on outdoor gatherings, during the decision making process, according to prior communication from Jeff Stein, chair of the Ready & Resilient Committee.
Other North Carolina schools, such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, will also host in-person commencement ceremonies with a limited number of guests, while Duke University will allow only students to attend its ceremony in-person.
Senior Payton Byrnes preferred the in-person options, but understands that many students in her class would have been more comfortable with a fully virtual celebration.
“I know that, for a lot of students, an in-person ceremony would mean a lot,” Byrnes said. “But I think it is definitely different for every person.”
Byrnes trusts the university’s choice and believes the school did their best to consider the health and safety of students, staff, and faculty throughout the decision-making process.
“I trust that if we are having an in-person ceremony, it’s because they [the university] thought deeply about it and wanted to make sure it was safe in doing so,” said Byrnes.