STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – After consulting with local and state health officials, Georgia Southern University says it is planning to hold in-person graduation ceremonies at the end of the fall 2020 semester.
The university says it will host multiple ceremonies in order to implement social distancing guidelines. Additionally, Paulson Stadium is no longer available on weekends in December due to the rescheduling of several football games this year.
Georgia Southern is now planning five separate ceremonies, spaced out over three days:
- Sunday, Dec. 13, at 2 p.m.
- Ceremony will be held at the Savannah Convention Center for any undergraduate who wishes to attend. (maximum expected number of guest tickets per candidate: 4)
- Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 10 a.m.
- Ceremony will be held at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro for undergraduates from the College of Arts and Humanities, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health (maximum expected number of guest tickets per candidate: 8)
- Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 3 p.m.
- Ceremony will be held at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro for undergraduates from the Waters College of Health Professions and the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing (maximum expected number of guest tickets per candidate: 8)
- Thursday, Dec. 17, at 10 a.m.
- Ceremony will be held at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro for undergraduates from the Parker College of Business, College of Education and College of Science and Mathematics (maximum expected number of guest tickets per candidate: 8)
- Thursday, Dec. 17, at 3 p.m.
- Ceremony will be held at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro for all graduate students from the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies (maximum expected number of guest tickets per candidate: 8)
“We appreciate everyone’s understanding that COVID-19 has once again forced us to change our plans, but we believe the importance of honoring our graduates through in-person ceremonies outweighs the challenges brought on by the unexpected date change and other adjustments necessary during this pandemic,” said Scot Lingrell, vice president for enrollment management. “Each ceremony will again be streamed live for anyone who cannot attend the ceremonies in person. We look forward to recognizing the academic accomplishment of each graduate and celebrating with their families.”
Officials say scheduling in-person ceremonies will also allow the university to host graduates from the spring and summer 2020 semesters. Spring 2020 ceremonies were moved to a virtual event in May in response to the pandemic.
All graduating students, including those who would have walked in the spring ceremony and would like to participate in December, are asked to RSVP by clicking here. Students are asked to respond by Nov. 9 with the number of guest tickets they are requesting.
For those who do attend in person, the university says several protocols will be in place to protect the safety of attendees, guests and staff. Requirements include:
- Appropriate face coverings are to be worn by all in attendance.
- Social distancing between groups that are not in the same family.
- Reduced seating capacity to accommodate social distancing.
- Modified procedures for logistics such as distribution of diploma covers and photographs.
Georgia Southern says reasonable accommodations may be made for those who are unable to wear a face covering for documented health reasons.