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COVID-19: NY Announces New Guidelines For Graduation, Commencement Ceremonies

Graduation ceremonies are a go in New Jersey come July 6.
Graduation ceremonies are a go in New Jersey come July 6. Photo Credit: Pixabay

Friends and family will be permitted to attend graduation ceremonies this spring, though there will still be certain COVID-19 restrictions in place.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday, April 12 that the state has adjusted its guidance for graduation and commencement ceremonies organized by schools, colleges, and universities.

Beginning on Saturday, May 1, both indoor and outdoor ceremonies will be permitted with limited capacity permitted, depending on the size and location of the event.

According to Cuomo, “all event organizers and venues hosting ceremonies must follow the State's strict health and safety protocols, including requiring face masks, social distancing, health screenings and collection of contact tracing information.”

For events that exceed the social gathering limits of 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors, event organizers and venues must notify the local health department and require attendees to show proof of a recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization prior to entry

For outdoor events, venues will be limited to:

  • Large events (500+): 20 percent capacity, applicable to venues with a total capacity of 2,500 or more;
  • Medium-scale events (201-500 people): 33 percent capacity;
  • Small-scale events (up to 100 people or two attendees per student): 50 percent capacity.

For indoor events, venues will be limited to:

  • Large-scale ceremonies of more than 100 people: 10 percent, applicable to venues with a total capacity of 1,500 or more;
  • Medium-scale ceremonies (101-150 people): 33 percent capacity;
  • Small-scale ceremonies (up to 100 people or two attendees per student): 50 percent.

“We're once again approaching the end of the academic year which means we need strict rules in place to ensure commencement ceremonies are done safely in the context of the ongoing pandemic," Cuomo said. 

"With more people getting vaccinated every day, we are so close to the light at the end of the tunnel, but we all need to continue being vigilant and I am urging everyone to celebrate smart."

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