November 3, 2020

Students are staying safe through virtual commencement

By Catherine Brown-

This semester, the University of Louisville is moving its December commencement ceremony online. It’s devastating to lose that chance to walk across the stage to your family and friends cheering you on, but it’s necessary during this global pandemic.

If the university decided to hold in-person commencement, it could be problematic. Holding an in-person commencement ceremony would risk the health of everyone in attendance. Many students, staff, faculty members, and friends/family that would attend a normal, in-person commencement are in “high-risk” groups. 

Not only that, but COVID-19 is more contagious than the flu, the CDC reports. You could be placed next to a student who is asymptomatic but coughs once and ends up spreading the virus.

Therefore, holding a commencement in the KFC Yum! Center could only spell a disaster.

And it would be hard to enforce any mandatory mask policy in a stadium that can hold over 20,000 people. It would require more manpower than before and might end up costing the university more to attend to. It would be more trouble than it’s worth to try to implement safety measures when it can be just as effective to let students stay in quarantine at home.

Alexis Logan is a senior who will be graduating in December. She said that while the move is a smart choice, she won’t be participating.

“I do agree with virtual commencement because of Corona, it would be hard to have all of us in one space safely, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be participating because it isn’t the same,” Logan said. “I never saw any of this coming—I expected a normal last semester. I think the whole experience would be different. The best part about graduation/commencement is walking across the stage with all the other graduates and in front of family and friends. It’s supposed to be a celebration of hard work for us and it’s not gonna be the same coming from our laptop screens.” 

Back in the spring, many colleges around the U.S decided to hold virtual graduation ceremonies. Doing this prevented students from gathering in close spaces where they couldn’t socially distance themselves from others or where students that can’t wear masks don’t have to worry about their safety.

U of L reassured students that once commencement is able to be held in person, graduates are welcome to attend the ceremony.

Virtual commencement will be held on  Dec. 12 at 4:00 p.m.

Although commencement is virtual, graduates can still purchase a cap and gown, as well as honor cords. Students can also book an appointment for a free graduation portrait provided by the university.

It will understandably be hard for seniors who were anticipating a normal graduation. For now, though, graduates can look forward to receiving their diploma from the comfort of their own homes. While we can only hope that this doesn’t become a normal occurrence, we can still appreciate the measures taken to protect the health and wellbeing of our U of L community.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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