Jonathan O’Brien | Reporter
(Milledgeville, Ga) — Administration at Georgia College and State University is planning more than two-dozen scaled-down commencement ceremonies.
“Participation will be limited to thirty students at each ceremony, and each graduate will be allowed to bring four guests,” GC President Dr. Steve Dorman said.
The ceremonies will be held in the 4,000-seat Centennial Center with an hour-and-a-half between each to allow for proper cleaning.
“We will be having a no-contact ceremony,” said University Registrar Kay Anderson. “We’ve established some very strict safety protocols.” Those include mask requirements, temperature checks, and limiting contact with surfaces like door handles and railings.
The events will be spread out over three weekends, with the first, April 23-25, honoring the 2020 graduating class who did not get to have a commencement due to COVID-19.
Second, GC’s 2021 graduate students will choose to be recognized May 6-7 or May 13-14. The university has scheduled eight ceremonies during that period.
Finally, 2021 undergraduate students will be recognized May 8-9 and May 15-16. The university is planning to hold 24 sessions over those dates, but more could be added as needed.
Students will register for the time that works best for them, and registration opened up for the class of 2020 on March 4th. Upcoming 2021 graduates can sign up beginning March 9th.
“We know that there are some students who won’t necessarily feel comfortable participating in this kind of format,” Anderson acknowledged. “But we just want to be sure that we leave that door open, so they know that we will welcome them back.”
Current GC senior Ava Leone told WGUR Radio, “I’m really grateful that I have the opportunity to have a couple of friends and maybe some family members come and spend time with me and get to experience this milestone in my life.”
“The announcement for in-person graduation for me is a little too late,” said 2020 graduate Abby Kennedy. “I have moved on in life and put my college career behind me.” She added that she is happy for the class of 2021.