Let’s face it, being a student during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a strange experience. All of a sudden classes were entirely online, meetings were taking place over Zoom, and Metro State’s campus was a ghost town. Graduating during this time must have been a bittersweet celebration. Walking across that stage and receiving a degree is extremely important to many students. Not only does this simple act validate years of hard work and dedication, but it also marks a passage to a brighter future. Conducted virtually, it couldn’t have been the climactic experience that many college students anticipate.
Well, I have good news: For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, Metro State graduates will return to the Minneapolis Convention Center this December for in-person graduation ceremonies. While it’s true that we aren’t out of the woods yet with COVID-19, rest assured that Metro State’s administration is preparing a wide array of cautionary measures to ensure that all graduating students are able to enjoy a safe and memorable experience at their graduation ceremony.
Instead of two larger ceremonies, graduation will be broken down into four smaller ceremonies over two days:
Friday, Dec. 10
- 2 p.m.: School of Urban Education, College of Liberal Arts, and College of Individualized Studies
- 6 p.m.: College of Management
Saturday, Dec. 11
- 10:30 a.m.: College of Sciences and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences
- 2:30 p.m.: College of Community Studies and Public Affairs
There are several other precautions being taken to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 at graduation. The ceremonies will be shorter than in the past, each running about an hour and 10 minutes at most. This means fewer speakers and welcoming ceremonies to minimize the amount of time people are staying inside the convention center. Each graduate will be able to invite a maximum of six guests to their ceremony. To reinforce this idea, each graduate will be given six wristbands to pass out to their guests. Being able to maintain social distancing is a huge concern, so there is no open-door policy this year. Anybody without a wristband will not be able to enter the ceremony. The ceremonies will all be livestreamed, so make sure to send the link to any friends or family that won’t be able to attend in person. Other precautions include mandatory masks, ubiquitous hand sanitizer, no handshaking as graduates cross the stage, and having the graduate medallion holders wear gloves.
Vaccination will not be required for the simple reason that it would be extremely difficult for the school to verify that every guest has gotten the jab. If Minnesota’s COVID-19 numbers unexpectedly spike around December, the ceremonies will not be turned into virtual events. Instead, graduates may be given fewer guest wristbands and additional ceremonies will be organized to minimize the number of people inside the convention center at one time. However, Metro State’s administration seems confident that such measures won’t be necessary due to the extensive precautions already in place and the fact that most of the study body has had at least one dose of the vaccine.
To our school’s Fall 2021 graduates: congratulations! You persevered through a period of unprecedented change and confusion. You adapted, thrived, and came out on top. Have fun at your graduation ceremonies—you’ve earned it.
For more information, please visit Metro State’s Graduation and Commencement website at https://www.metrostate.edu/students/graduation.