Officials reaffirm postponement of in-person Commencement for classes of 2020 and 2021

Media Credit: File Photo by Kate Carpenter | Photographer

Officials held Commencement virtually for the Class of 2020 last year with plans for both classes to return for an in-person ceremony on the National Mall at a future date.

Following several universities’ announcements that they will hold in-person commencement ceremonies next month, GW will keep its current plan of postponing an in-person celebration, officials said in a release Friday.

Provost Brian Blake said in the announcement that GW faces restrictions with holding an in-person Commencement on the National Mall like National Park Service regulations, which other D.C.-area universities are not experiencing. He said officials repeatedly heard in conversations with students, graduates and families that students are willing to wait to hold Commencement until they can gather with as many friends and family as possible.

“After studying D.C.’s April 8 update on guidelines for in-person celebrations, and NPS’s continued restrictions on gathering sizes and turf restrictions on the National Mall, we have concluded that we must continue to postpone in-person Commencement celebrations for the Classes of 2021 and 2020,” Blake said in the release.

Officials said in March that commencement ceremonies would be held virtually in May and the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 will be invited to in-person ceremonies when “it is safe to do so.”

Howard and American universities announced plans this month for in-person commencement ceremonies. D.C officials set guidance for schools and universities’ graduation ceremonies earlier this month, limiting crowds in outdoor settings to 2,000 people or 25 percent of a venue’s capacity.

Officials held Commencement virtually for the Class of 2020 last year with plans for both classes to return for an in-person ceremony on the National Mall at a future date.

“In order to ensure that all graduates and their loved ones can celebrate graduation this May, no matter where they are located or their vaccination status, our University-wide and school celebrations will stay virtual,” Blake said.

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