Efforts to eliminate large gatherings continue across the state in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and on Wednesday all eight public universities in Utah announced their commencement ceremonies will be rescheduled or canceled.
Students and families are of course, disappointed, but also recognize this is a life-saving measure.
“I’ve had two of my three graduation ceremonies affected by a global pandemic, which is just kind of a bizarre experience,” said Utah State University student Deeann Evans.
Evans was sick with the swine flu the day of her high school graduation in 2009 and could not attend the ceremony because of it.
This year as a result of the coronavirus global pandemic, university students throughout the state have had their graduation plans altered as well. Evans said she is just about to finish her second bachelor’s degree and was looking forward to commencement.
“It’s hard to miss out on things, but it’s just not worth risking catching it or carrying it to somebody who’s at risk,” Evans said.
The country has been advised to avoid large gatherings and to practice social distancing to limit the spread of the illness. Evans said although she is disappointed in not being able to attend her commencement ceremony, she is glad the university is taking steps to protect the students, staff and the community.
“Because several people that I love are high-risk individuals that may or may not survive getting coronavirus, and so I think it’s very important to recognize they are just trying to protect everybody,” Evans said.
Evans will be looking for a job as a secondary education teacher after graduation and says while she knows there will be a need for educators, she isn’t sure what that will look like with all the online school right now
University officials anticipate in a few weeks they will announce alternative plans to recognize graduates.