Despite the ongoing COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Rutgers University said Feb. 11 that commencement events this year will all be held virtually.
“This decision was a disappointing one to make in light of the difficulties our graduating students have already endured, but public health concerns related to the ongoing pandemic continue to make it unwise for us to plan for large in-person gatherings this spring,” he wrote. “And unfortunately, it is not feasible to create appropriate, smaller ceremonies in a safe and equitable way.”
Holloway tested positive for COVID-19 last month.
“[D]espite the optimism that the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines has brought us, our health experts have advised that even if the pace of the vaccination rollout increases, our state will not be at a point where it will be safe to gather in large crowds, even outdoors, until mid- to late summer at the earliest,” Holloway noted.
More than 18,000 students are graduating across Rutgers campuses, and the school doesn’t have the capacity to guarantee attendees’ health and safety. Rutgers’ administration decided that it’s “better to put our energies into making commencement season as well-designed, creative, and meaningful as possible in a virtual setting” rather than setting up an in-person commencement for May, only to cancel it as the time draws near.
“I recognize that this decision will be deeply disappointing to our graduating students and their families and friends, and I am very sorry. I know you deserve better and wish that we could make it happen in a safe and responsible way this spring,” he wrote. “At the point where we can resume holding large in-person gatherings, we will gladly plan for events that celebrate your accomplishments at Rutgers.”