The University of Virginia is forgoing in-person graduation exercises for both the class of 2021 and 2020 because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.
In a statement on the school's website, officials said the school is consulting with the current senior class about either holding events in the spring that involve only graduating students, or postponing a ceremony and other events to a future date when families and friends can join students.
Under either scenario, the school said it will confer the degrees to the candidates in each school virtually and produce a virtual celebration for students, friends and families this May.
“I know this is not the way you expected to end your time at UVA, nor is it the way we would like to celebrate your accomplishments,” U.Va. President Jim Ryan said. “Still, I remain confident we will be able to celebrate and honor your class in a way that will be both meaningful and memorable.”
In a separate message, Ryan told the class of 2020 that because of ongoing challenges of safe travel and gathering due to the pandemic, that class won't get a large ceremony or event. The pandemic forced the school to hand out degrees to that class last May in a virtual celebration with plans to hold final, in-person exercises this May.
Now, Ryan said the school has postponed in-person activities for the class of 2020 until the summer of 2022.
"“This event, which will combine elements of Final Exercises and an early reunion, will provide an opportunity to walk the Lawn for those who wish to do so, as well as a chance to reconnect with classmates, friends, and faculty in meaningful ways,” Ryan wrote.