In an email to all students on Tuesday evening, President Clayton Rose announced that family members and guests will not be able to come to campus for Commencement for the Class of 2021 and will instead have to observe the ceremony and other Commencement-related events virtually due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“This is not a decision any of us wanted to make, especially because you and your families have already sacrificed and endured so much,” wrote Rose in his email.
The College is still planning for the Class of 2021 to have an in-person ceremony for students on the steps of the Walker Art Building on Saturday, May 29. Seniors who are studying remotely in the spring will be permitted to attend the events in person along with students who will be living on campus or in-residence.
Rose said the College did consider multiple scenarios for the 2021 commencement that would allow guests to attend in person, such as having guests congregate on athletic fields instead of the quad in order to maintain social distancing. But he indicated that the Maine Centers for Disease Control’s restrictions on the size of outdoor gatherings, new variants of COVID-19, the “slower-than-expected” rollout of the vaccination and the international state of the pandemic ultimately led the College to restrict the ceremony to members of the senior class.
Rose also wrote that if COVID-19 conditions improve before May, the College would potentially consider changes to their current plan. Students and families can find updated information about Commencement Weekend for the Class of 2021 in the coming weeks on the College’s Commencement website.
“I know it is disappointing for you and for your family members—it is for us as well. We will do everything we can to make this day a proper celebration of all you have achieved and a memorable occasion for you and your families,” Rose wrote in his email.
Multiple other institutions have announced that they will not invite guests to attend commencement ceremonies in person this spring, including Brown University.