MADISON, Wis. - The spring commencement is on at the University of Wisconsin. But it will look quite different.
In a letter for parents and families, UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank said the university plans to have two in-person, outdoor ceremonies at Camp Randall Stadium on May 8 for the Class of 2021 — one for undergraduates, the other for graduate and professional students.
The chancellor's letter goes on to say the following:
"We are excited to offer our outstanding new graduates the opportunity to celebrate in person, barring any resurgence of COVID-19 that would require us to revert to a fully virtual ceremony.
"To keep everyone safe, we will need to limit attendance to graduates only. This is necessary because when allowing for six feet of physical distancing, even a venue as large as Camp Randall cannot accommodate both graduates and guests. Also, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently advises no travel in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.
"We considered many options to try to provide a ceremony for students and families, but we were unable to do so for logistical and safety reasons. We will be livestreaming the ceremonies so that families, friends and graduates who aren’t able to attend will be able to watch along with us.
"This was a difficult decision and I know many of you were hoping to be in Camp Randall this spring with your graduate. We solicited feedback from graduating seniors and while, ideally, they wish everyone could come together, they were willing to make the choices necessary to have an in-person graduation. I hope you can understand that we are motivated, as always, by the health and safety of our community and striving to offer our students the fullest experience possible. Commencement at Camp Randall is a cherished tradition; I’m excited that we will be able to bring our graduates together for this memorable occasion.
"While we cannot safely bring you to Camp Randall, we are working on creative ways to bring Camp Randall to you. We are exploring options to actively engage our graduates’ families and we’ll update you as we know more. And the live feed will be available to all.
"I know you may have many questions. Your student will soon receive more information about the ceremony. It will include wonderful commencement traditions and a few changes to comply with public safety rules. They’ll need to show a green Badger Badge (part of our Safer Badgers app, which affirms that they’ve had a recent negative COVID test) – and will be physically distanced and wearing face coverings.
"You can find more information and FAQs at commencement.wisc.edu."