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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: 2155356

Reported Deaths: 53657
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings28880410522
Queens28324510023
Suffolk2047873414
Nassau1877353185
Bronx1871846598
New York1435654536
Westchester1317102296
Erie908201816
Richmond774921855
Monroe700711117
Orange49140847
Rockland47553758
Onondaga39603680
Dutchess29942447
Albany25107358
Oneida22861518
Niagara20299375
Broome18827367
Saratoga15810168
Ulster14164258
Schenectady13411206
Rensselaer11474145
Putnam1077793
Chautauqua9015146
Chemung7851137
Oswego772593
Ontario753293
Steuben7024147
Sullivan680076
St. Lawrence675897
Cayuga643092
Jefferson627568
Wayne586673
Cattaraugus580493
Genesee5460124
Herkimer5266110
Clinton488833
Madison461389
Livingston456860
Fulton447193
Tompkins446553
Montgomery4307128
Columbia4146104
Cortland397964
Tioga387863
Warren377262
Wyoming363153
Allegany358287
Chenango357077
Otsego351047
Greene347279
Washington321555
Orleans314483
Lewis284636
Franklin257912
Delaware243539
Seneca204257
Schoharie174319
Essex163626
Yates118226
Schuyler109014
Hamilton3182
Unassigned8711
Out of NY0254
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