New York State releases new guidance for graduation ceremonies

The New York State Department of Health has released updated guidance that will allow schools and colleges to hold graduation ceremonies this year.

Posted: Apr 12, 2021 5:08 PM
Updated: Apr 12, 2021 5:38 PM

ALBANY, N.Y. – The New York State Department of Health has released updated guidance that will allow schools and colleges to hold graduation ceremonies this year.

Starting May 1, indoor and outdoor commencement ceremonies will be allowed, but there will be capacity restrictions and other safety rules in place.

"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," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "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."

Venues and organizers must follow existing COVID-19 protocols, including requiring face masks, social distancing and health screenings.

If more than 100 people indoors or 200 outdoors are expected, organizers must notify local health departments of the size increase, and require recent negative tests or proof of vaccination from all attendees at large- and medium-scale events.

Here is a breakdown of the capacity guidelines:

Outdoor Events

  • Large-scale ceremonies of over 500 people at outdoor venues will be limited to 20% of capacity, applicable to venues with a total capacity of 2,500 or more.
  • Medium-scale ceremonies of 201-500 people at outdoor venues will be limited to 33% of capacity.
  • Small-scale ceremonies of up to 200 people or two attendees per student at outdoor venues will be limited to 50% of capacity. Proof of recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization is optional.

Indoor Events

  • Large-scale ceremonies of over 150 people at indoor venues will be limited to 10% of capacity, applicable to venues with a total capacity of 1,500 or more.
  • Medium-scale ceremonies of 101-150 people at indoor venues will be limited to 33% of capacity.
  • Small-scale ceremonies of up to 100 people or two attendees per student at indoor venues will be limited to 50% of capacity. Proof of recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization is optional.

The full interim guidance released Monday can be viewed below:

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2066989

Reported Deaths: 52611
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings27515910235
Queens2723029785
Suffolk1983523365
Nassau1813753158
Bronx1801106498
New York1359564416
Westchester1283032262
Erie872971765
Richmond734501794
Monroe651661057
Orange47547810
Rockland46511952
Onondaga37558668
Dutchess28937442
Albany24270348
Oneida22021503
Niagara19398349
Broome18127355
Saratoga14924165
Ulster13638250
Schenectady12835195
Rensselaer11002140
Putnam1048891
Chautauqua8703140
Chemung7435134
Oswego732390
Ontario723492
Steuben6639143
Sullivan647272
St. Lawrence641596
Cayuga611292
Jefferson576766
Wayne554667
Cattaraugus546586
Genesee5286121
Herkimer5054107
Clinton475133
Madison441488
Fulton428190
Livingston425658
Tompkins419350
Montgomery4146121
Columbia3944101
Cortland367960
Tioga361861
Warren352957
Wyoming344951
Allegany335384
Chenango335376
Otsego335347
Greene329775
Washington302755
Orleans299283
Lewis260734
Franklin250312
Delaware229037
Seneca196256
Schoharie163216
Essex156326
Yates115626
Schuyler102614
Hamilton3042
Unassigned13458
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