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State guidelines restrict attendance at college graduations

Area colleges will be hosting graduation ceremonies in a variety of ways, but no matter what the manner of presentation, they all must comply with guidelines set forth by the State and CDC.

Posted: May 5, 2021 5:09 PM
Updated: May 5, 2021 5:29 PM

UTICA, N.Y. -- State pandemic guidelines are restricting the number of people that are able to attend in-person graduation ceremonies, so this year Utica College will have 3 separate graduation ceremonies all taking place on Saturday May 15. There will be ceremonies at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m. Anyone attending in person will be required to show proof of a negative COVID test, or proof of completed vaccinations.

The college is also foregoing a procession, so students will be seated individually prior to the start of commencement. Utica Colleges Provost/Senior Vice President Academic Affairs Todd Pfannestiel talked about who can attend.

"We have strict limitations on the number of people as well as who can attend, so as a result at each commencement ceremony the only people who will attend will be the students who are graduating, the faculty from the respective school, and the minimal staff required from the college and from the Bank Center to be able to pull this all together," said Pfannestiel.

There are also a number of people who can’t attend.

"Sadly there will be no parents or family members permitted in the arena during these commencement ceremonies, although we are livestreaming all three of the ceremonies for those family members or friends to be able to see," said Pfannestiel.

Herkimer College will commence their graduation ceremonies on Friday May 14 at 4 p.m. The college has 397 students eligible for this year’s graduation, but Herkimer College Director of Public Relations Rebecca Ruffing says their ceremony is going to happen without students in attendance.

"We follow SUNY, State, New York State Department of Health, and CDC. We follow all of the guidance that comes out from those agencies, and so based on the best information we had at the time, and all of the various options available, we had to make a decision to go with the livestream," said Ruffing.

Anyone wishing to watch their ceremony can log on to Herkimer.edu/commencement, and it will also be streaming through facebook live.

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