2   +   8   =  

The options currently offered don’t seem to be enough for students.

Over the course of the semester, Los Angeles County’s policies concerning  COVID-19 have changed greatly. With vaccines fully accessible to everyone, and the infection rate being stable enough to host bigger events, one wonders with CDC guidelines how can graduation ceremonies be efficiently organized. 

 According to ABC, Gov. Gavin Newsom also plans to fully reopen the state by June 15. The whole state will move away from the color tier system,and every county will open together across the state. 

The reopening is contingent on two matters according to ABC news:

 

  1. Having a sufficient supply of the Covid-19 vaccine to those who wish to take it. 

 

  1. That hospitalization rates are low and stable enough. 

 

Azusa Pacific University has opted for a virtual ceremony for the class of 2021, but after Los Angeles entered the orange tier, it seems as though more should be offered to the graduating class.

“I think the drive-through commencement is great for those who are local and for those who have not made celebration arrangements already. We received notice about the drive-through commencement a little late for people to plan to come back to campus,” said Anabelle Norman, a senior marketing major.

Through the effort of student organizations, APU was able to offer students who reside in California the opportunity to have a drive-thru photo-op event on May 7. However, there still is some lingering disappointment despite this event due to the fact some schools are having a physical ceremony. 

Other schools have recently announced a hybrid model for graduation, offering those who are from out of state an option to be in-person or not. 

UC San Diego has adopted this model.  Students will have to be vaccinated or show a negative COVID-19 test to participate and are prohibited from bringing more than two guests. The ceremony will take place June 12-13 on the outside field next to RIMAC Arena. 

Another school giving many different options to their graduating class is California State University, Fresno. The COVID-19 infection rate for Cal State Fresno was stable enough to have in person ceremonies on May 14 and 15. 

“We listened to the feedback from our graduating seniors and student leaders and together are designing an in-person commencement celebration. This will be possible, provided that Fresno County remains in the red tier,” Cal State Fresno State President Saul Jimenez-Sandoval stated.  

Biola is going to hold ‘family style’ ceremonies for their 2021 graduating class. Graduates will have to register their pod ahead of time and guests can’t exceed more than five people. The students must wear face masks and will graduate according to the schedule provided based upon department.  The ceremony will take place over three days: May 7, 8 and 10. 

The University of Southern California is planning on having an in-person graduation ceremony for both their 2020 and 2021 classes. The university plans to send an invitation for students to walk across the stage for their specific department’s ceremony. Students who reside in California are allowed to bring two guests. The university is working to bring the ceremonies virtually for those out of state on May 13. 

“After all this time, we will finally be together again,” USC President Carol L. Folt tweeted after announcing the news. 

Six of the UC schools including UC Davis, UCLA and UC Santa Barbra have plans for a virtual ceremony with decisions still pending. For the Cal state schools, 23 campuses have posted different plans. California State University, Long Beach is trying out a ‘vehicle commencement,’ which includes students driving across a platform to receive their diplomas. 

Each school is trying to do its best in order to honor its graduating class. Some are offering parades and others giving the students options. With the guidelines being as they are in the orange tier, APU should have looked at different options for graduating rather than just being online. 

Update on 9:15 on April 24, 2021, adding a quote from Annabelle Norman.