UWG canceled the Fall 2020 Graduation Fair because of COVID-19. The fair is intended for soon-to-be graduates to receive tickets and information about the upcoming commencement. However, the fall commencement ceremonies will still take place face-to-face despite date changes.
The fair, which usually takes place once each semester, was originally scheduled for Nov. 11. Fall graduates can now receive their commencement tickets, caps and gowns by mail for the big celebrations on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5.
“The commencement ceremony dates were changed for two reasons,” said Assistant Registrar Joe Fernander, a member of the graduation team. “First, the new dates fall in line with the revised academic calendar for the Fall 2020 semester.
“Secondly, the weather is the most significant unknown variable when hosting an outdoor ceremony,” continued Fernander. “If we are forced to postpone due to substantial inclement weather, we wanted an additional weekend in December to host the ceremonies.”
Since the current semester is ending a week sooner than it was initially planned, the commencement ceremonies’ dates have been changed to fit the new schedule. Though the minimum number of invitations available for each graduate is still unknown at this time, it will likely depend on the number of students who decide to attend.
“The Commencement Committee is evaluating all possible options for the number of guests we can safely admit into the stadium,” said Fernander. “Students will receive details during the week of Nov. 9.”
Students who didn’t get to walk during the spring and summer semesters are all welcome to come back, which is why the ceremonies will be held on two different days—Friday and Saturday. The Graduation Committee will track how many students plan to attend the ceremonies thanks to an implemented RSVP system.
The committee hopes for a good turnout from the recent alumni as UWG’s goal is to try to maximize the experience for the students and guests.
“We realize how important a physical commencement ceremony is to students and their families,” said Fernander. “In May of this year, Dr. Kelly committed to hosting make-up ceremonies when it was safe to do so. We are excited to bring that promise to fruition.”
UWG continues to actively evaluate the conditions for hosting in-person commencement ceremonies. Students and guests will be physically distanced, and face coverings will be required for the duration of the ceremony.
“We have a strong focus on our commitment to host in-person ceremonies,” said Fernander. “However, we will continue to follow changing guidelines from the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force, the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Should anything change, all students, faculty and staff will be notified.”
The commencement website will be updated with the relevant information. The ceremonies will be livestreamed and can also be viewed after the event. Guests who are at high risk for severe illness due to COVID-19 are encouraged to participate via the livestream option.