Virginia Tech plans to hold multiple in-person commencement ceremonies based on new graduation guidelines

New River Valley News

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — While details have yet to be finalized, Virginia Tech announced Wednesday night plans to hold several in-person commencement ceremonies in Lane Stadium as a way to to celebrate Hokies’ graduation while also following public health guidelines.

According to Virginia Tech, the format of these in-person celebrations will be based on the new graduation guidelines released on Wednesday, March 17 by Gov. Ralph Northam, as well as the feedback from the Class of 2021.

These new state guidelines were released shortly after Virginia Tech parents organized a petition asking the governor to update his Executive Order and clarify guidance for outdoor commencement exercises for the graduating class of 2021.

Schools officials say Virginia Tech will hold a number of commencement events will be held before the end of the semester in order to recognize individual graduates in front of a limited number of guests. 

Seeing as more than 8,000 Hokies are graduating this spring, the university says hosting multiple in-person events along with an online ceremony is necessary to accommodate public health protocols while also creating a special experience for graduates and their families. 

“While we are excited to gather in-person, we know it will not be a traditional commencement ceremony,” Virginia Tech said in Wednesday’s statement. “Graduates and guests will not be permitted to gather in large numbers outside the stadium. Tailgating and congregating will not be allowed and public health measures will still be in place. Preliminary guidance from the state for safely holding in-person commencement events puts caps on indoor and outdoor ceremonies.”

According to school officials, since they anticipated this announcement from state officials, planning is already underway for in-person commencement celebrations. In addition, more than 1,200 students in the Class of 2021 reportedly completed a recent survey conducted by the university’s commencement delivery team.

Virginia Tech says a limited number of guests will be allowed to attend the commencement events based on public health conditions, so registration for these events will be required.

As so many look to the future and celebrations ahead, the commencement delivery team is also considering how to recognize the Class of 2020 as restrictions on gatherings continue to ease. The class will receive a survey seeking input on how to best recognize them. 

Members of the Hokie community can expect to receive more commencement updates in the coming weeks via email, online, and through Virginia Tech social media channels.

In the meantime, follow the links below to help you get ready for commencement:

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