December graduation is fast approaching for seniors in their final semester at SUNY Plattsburgh. COVID-19 restrictions and precautions have changed the approach to the past three graduations, Winter 2021 will also be looking different.
Dr. Kathleen Camelo, director of the student health and counseling center, said that for the first time in three semesters, students will be able to bring guests to their graduation.
Each student is permitted two guest tickets, a link for which was sent out Nov. 16 to graduating students’ email accounts.
“There will be virtual tickets for the guests, and the graduates will be given bracelets. They can pick these up a week before graduation at a pre-check-in at the ACC,” Camelo said. More details specific to the pre-check-in will be released closer to the event.
Students and their guests will need to be vaccinated or have a negative test 72 hours prior to commencement.
There will be two separate commencements Dec. 18 at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Students can choose which time they would prefer when receiving their tickets up until Dec. 3.
The in-person commencements will take place in the E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium in Hawkins Hall.
All information stated above and additional details can be found under the commencement section of the SUNY Plattsburgh website.
Olivia Metchick, a senior majoring in marketing with a minor in public relations, has conflicting feelings about her upcoming graduation.
“I’m ready to graduate. I was in the middle of my sophomore year when the pandemic began, and I think it put a lot of us in a mind-set to just want to move on from all of this,” Metchick said.
While she is understanding of the regulations, and wants to remain as safe as possible herself, some of the drawbacks were still disappointing.
“[I’m] glad that my parents can be there in person, but it’s sad that more of my family can’t be there,” Metchick said about the guest limitations. “I understand the precautions surrounding COVID, but I think about how my brother and I are the only grandchildren of my one grandmother, and it’s just really unfortunate that she can’t be there.”
There will be a livestream of the event available on the college website for those who cannot attend. A recording of both commencements will also be archived on the college website. Lily Alvarado, who will be graduating a semester early with a dual major in English literature and gender and women’s studies, chose the 10 a.m. commencement and will have her parents attending as her two guests.
“I’m really happy with the decision of allowing those who aren’t vaccinated to still attend with a negative test,” Alvarado said. “My mother has a history of blood clots, so she’s not vaccinated. I would ideally like to have more of my loved ones there, but I’m really grateful that at least her and my dad can see me graduate in person.”
Both Metchick and Alvarado understand the safety protocols. There is just an air of disappointment not being able to share such a large milestone in their lives with all their loved ones.
Alvarado also noted the inconvenience for her family, and likely others, that her younger sibling needed to find a place to stay while her parents drove to Plattsburgh from New York City.
The extravagant, bleacher packed graduations that existed long before COVID are now only a hope for students anticipating graduation.