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New York State releases updated guidance for graduation, commencement ceremonies

University sorry for saying women should wear low-cut tops to graduation
Posted at 4:18 PM, Apr 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-12 23:29:46-04

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York State released updated guidance Monday for graduation and commencement ceremonies.

As of May 1, indoor and outdoor graduation and commencement ceremonies organized by schools, colleges and universities will be allowed with limited capacity.

The capacity will be dependent on the capacity of the venue. The venues and organizers must follow the state's guidelines including requiring face masks, social distancing, health screenings and collection of contact tracing information. You can find the detailed guidance here.

"We're once again approaching the end of the academic year which means we need strict rules in place to ensure commencement ceremonies are done safely in the context of the ongoing pandemic," Governor Cuomo said. "With more people getting vaccinated every day, we are so close to the light at the end of the tunnel, but we all need to continue being vigilant and I am urging everyone to celebrate smart."

The state says for events that exceed the social gathering limits of 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors, the organizers and venues must notify the local health department and require attendees to show proof of a recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization prior to entry.

Outdoor Events:

  • Large-scale ceremonies of over 500 people at outdoor venues will be limited to 20 percent of capacity, applicable to venues with a total capacity of 2,500 or more.
  • Medium-scale ceremonies of 201-500 people at outdoor venues will be limited to 33 percent of capacity.
  • Small-scale ceremonies of up to 200 people or 2 attendees per student at outdoor venues will be limited to 50 percent of capacity. Proof of recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization is optional.

Indoor Events:

  • Large-scale ceremonies of over 150 people at indoor venues will be limited to 10 percent of capacity, applicable to venues with a total capacity of 1,500 or more.
  • Medium-scale ceremonies of 101-150 people at indoor venues will be limited to 33 percent of capacity.
  • Small-scale ceremonies of up to 100 people or 2 attendees per student at indoor venues will be limited to 50 percent of capacity. Proof of recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization is optional.

Some colleges in WNY have already been planning hosting graduation ceremonies. Villa Maria College will host a ceremony for both the class of 2020 and 2021 this May.

Representatives from the school say it was planning on just hosting students and faculty, but with these new guidelines, will allow a limited amount of guests to attend. The event will be held outside of their school's main building.