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WVU Plans In-Person Commencement, More Normal Fall Semester As Covid Cases Drop

WVU Campus
Duncan Slade
A student walks on the downtown campus of West Virginia University.

West Virginia University administrators announced plans to hold an in-person commencement ceremony in May amid improving public health conditions. The plan was announced in a virtual campus forum Thursday.

Last spring, graduates had their graduation ceremony canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s ceremony will be held on May 15-16 at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown.

Both 2020 and 2021 classes will be able to walk across the stage in May, offering students and families the opportunity to celebrate earning degrees. Masks will be required at graduation and guests will be limited, the university said.

The announcement was one in a series of loosening campus pandemic restrictions as cases of the virus are declining statewide and the university plans to have all employees over 50 vaccinated by the end of March.

Officials said employees and faculty under 50 and the general student population will be vaccinated through community centers in accordance with the state’s rollout plan.

“We are hopeful that everyone will be vaccinated by the end of summer,” said Provost Maryanne Reed. “As such as we are planning to return to a normal, on-campus fall semester.”

Student organizations and club sports teams will return to limited in-person activities and on-campus tours of admitted high school seniors will resume on March 1.

Still, Reed tempered her optimism reminding students and faculty that the university will remain vigilant and responsive to ever-changing public health conditions.

“We will adapt to the reality on the ground, whatever that is come fall,” she said.

Duncan is a news reporter based in Morgantown. A journalism student at West Virginia University, he also works as the photo editor of the Daily Athenaeum, WVU's student newspaper. Previously, he worked at the Frederick News-Post. Reach Duncan on Twitter @duncan_slade or by email dslade@wvpublic.org

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