In light of moving classes entirely online and closing dorms due to COVID-19, Eastern Kentucky University seniors still have one thing on their minds: graduation.
An email sent out on March 17 from David McFaddin, interim president of EKU, detailed what classes, housing and dining on campus will look like but the timing of commencement is still uncertain.
“We are postponing the spring 2020 commencement ceremony. We are doing this to ensure we abide by CDC guidelines about large group gatherings and to guarantee the safety of all involved in that event,” said McFaddin in the email.
Gradfest has been postponed as well, but graduating seniors should not give up hope of getting their items or the experience of Gradfest.
“The Registrar’s Office is still working on the specifics with determining how we can facilitate getting caps and gowns and some of the other materials that were available during Gradfest to students,” said Kristi Middleton, chief external affairs officer for EKU.
Middleton also said that this year’s Gradfest might not look like the ones done in the past.
“It might be in a condensed format, so not the full fair with a lot of tables and places to stop by, but we are working on what would work best to get these items to our graduates,” said Middleton.
The spring 2020 commencement is being postponed as well to follow guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and state and federal government recommendations.
“Commencement is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, gatherings that we host every year on our campus. So that is a lot of students and a lot of their family members. Certain members of those attendees could definitely be part of the high risk group,” said Middleton.
The CDC began recommending canceling large gatherings on March 15 for the next 8 weeks and that is another factor into postponing commencement. However, hosting a commencement ceremony is still in the works.
“We do fully expect to be able to reschedule the commencement ceremony at some point but we are following guidance of our national, state and local health officials about large gatherings,” said Middleton.
Regardless of when a commencement ceremony will be hosted, graduating seniors will still get the degrees they have earned.
“What’s important is that the students will still be able to finish their degrees and be graduates on schedule in May,” said Middleton.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.