xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

UMBC to hold commencement ceremonies this week amid surge in COVID cases

University of Maryland, Baltimore County will hold commencement ceremonies this week despite a surge in COVID-19 positive cases in Maryland, the university announced.

University officials plan to hold Fall 2021 commencement ceremonies on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena on campus, according to the Sunday announcement.

Advertisement

“We are monitoring the number of COVID cases in our campus community and have reviewed the precautions we have put in place for the ceremonies with public health experts, who assure us that the safety protocols we have in place for the ceremonies are strong and will substantially mitigate risks,” according to the announcement.

Lisa Akchin, a UMBC campus spokeswoman, said the first ceremony is set to be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday for graduate students. The undergraduate student ceremony will be split into two for safety measures at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Akchin said the largest ceremony crowd will be limited to 1,800 people in the Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena, which can hold 6,000 people.

The university is also taking several other actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the campus community, Akchin said.

“We will have graduates seated individually with three-foot distancing, guests are limited to two and each pair of guests will also be distanced three-feet all around,” Akchin said. “We’ve also eliminated some of the typical elements of the ceremony that put people together like the procession, and finally we’re requiring KN-95 masks for everyone who attends.”

Last week, the University of Maryland, College Park canceled its winter commencement amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and Towson University moved all remaining final exams to a virtual setting after the school saw a “significant increase” in positive cases among students.

Advertisement

Akchin said the UMBC community deserves in-person commencement ceremonies for their efforts in combating COVID-19 challenges this year.

According to the UMBC’s public health dashboard, last updated on Dec. 18., students and faculty have each reached 99% vaccination, while staff have reached a 97% vaccination rate.

“UMBC students have been very compliant with all of our safety protocols,” Akchin said. “We believe they deserve the opportunity to have a commencement ceremony.”

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement