IU-Bloomington campus commencement ceremonies for graduate and undergraduate students will be as touchless as possible, said Doug Booher, IU executive director of university events, on Thursday during a special edition of the “Ask Aaron” webinar.
Only graduates will be able to attend the ceremonies, but guests can watch virtually through IU’s broadcast website, Booher said. Graduates will receive more information about commencement virtual viewing and location in an email next week, he said.
Graduates can indicate their interest in attending an in-person ceremony through a Qualtrics form, but this is not a reservation, Booher said. Students will receive more information about how to reserve their seat at a ceremony in the email next week, he said.
The undergraduate and graduate ceremonies will include 2021 and 2020 graduates, Booher said.
“We were getting a strong response from the 2020 graduates who would like to come back,” he said.
Separate school recognition events will be virtual, Booher said. Individual schools will contact their students about specific ceremonies.
Dr. Aaron Carroll, IU’s director of mitigation testing, said all graduation attendees must be tested twice – once during the week before the ceremony and once one to two days before graduation.
If a graduate is isolating, quarantining or receives a positive test result for COVID-19, they will not be allowed to attend in-person commencement ceremonies, Carroll said.
There is no quarantine or isolation requirement for graduates traveling internationally or from out-of-state, but they must be tested, Carroll said. He advised travelers to be mindful of the possibility of spreading COVID-19 and encouraged them to possibly isolate as much as possible after arrival.
Seating will be socially distanced, Carroll said. All graduates must wear masks, even if they’ve been vaccinated, he said. Booher said there will be assigned seating.
Booher said masks will be available at the venue if a graduate forgets one. Students will receive different arrival times for the ceremony once they receive their mobile tickets to minimize crowds. They will also use different entries to maintain social distancing and minimize contact, he said.
Upon arrival, students will receive a ceremony package with their program book, diploma cover and a rain poncho in case of unfavorable weather, Booher said. Students who choose to attend the ceremonies virtually can purchase a diploma cover for $6.50 from the IU Bookstore, according to the commencement website.
The ceremonies will be socially distanced with the exception of traditional placing of a hood on doctoral students by faculty members, Carroll said.
To decrease the number of people in attendance, IU asked individual schools to each send one faculty representative for the hooding at the graduate ceremony, Booher said.
IU will coordinate areas for families to drop off and pick up their graduates before and after the ceremonies, Booher said.
“There are a lot of changes that we have implemented,” Booher said. “But we’ve also paid very close attention to try to keep the spirit and feeling of the ceremony the same.”