BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — On Wednesday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced loosened COVID-19 guidelines for graduation ceremonies, allowing up to 5,000 people at outdoor venues.
Shortly after, universities across southwest Virginia announced their plans to space out graduation ceremonies, allowing students to invite more spectators to see them walk across the stage.
Lane Stadium is where Virginia Tech will be having their commencement ceremonies this year.
The stadium will provide plenty of room to space out 5,000 person limit.
“We’re working with students as well as the college deans to finalize plans for those in-person ceremonies that will align with the governor’s directives and for our public health guidance,” said Virginia Tech President, Tim Sands, during Thursday’s Virginia Tech Town Hall.
Virginia Tech is working to register its around eight-thousand Hokie graduates to see who wants in-person or virtual and how many days to span graduation.
“We were just celebrating this because it’s a huge victory,” said Nicole Kreamer, a Virginia Tech parent whose daughter will be graduating in May. “It’s a huge win for everyone, particularly the students.”
Kreamer had started a Change.org petition to have in-person graduation two weeks before Northam’s announcement, gathering over 2,000 signatures.
“They’ve (the parents) all been very supportive, in terms of signing the petition and calling the university, emailing the governor’s office. You know, everyone, this was truly a group effort amongst all of us parents.”
“We’re finally getting what we deserve, what we’ve worked hard for,” said Matthew Saville, a graduating Poli Sci major at Virginia Tech.
Saville has worried about graduation all semester. His new-found certainty now has him worry free.
“I do appreciate it more now,” the Hokie senior said. “It makes it feel even more special for me for my parents to be able to see me walk across the stage.”
Virginia Tech will also be reaching out to the already graduated Class of 2020 to see if they would be willing to come back to Blacksburg and have the ceremony that was taken away from them last year.