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Gov. Northam announces draft plan for schools to hold in-person graduation, commencement events this spring

Michelle Obama
Posted at 3:09 PM, Mar 17, 2021

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam released preliminary guidance for how schools can safely hold in-person graduation and commencement events in the spring.

According to a release from Northam's administration, these tentative plans for k-12 schools, as well as colleges and universities, have been reviewed with education officials and are expected to be included in an April 1 update of the Executive Order 72.

Graduation events held outdoors will have a cap of 5,000 people or 30% of the venue capacity, whichever is less.

Graduation events held indoors may have up to 500 people, or 30% of the venue capacity, whichever is less.

All attendees must wear masks and follow other guidelines and safety protocols to ensure proper distancing.

“I appreciate the work that our schools, students, and teachers have put in to get back into the classroom safely, and the efforts of public health officials and education leaders in developing guidelines for safe graduations and commencements this spring,” said Governor Northam. “We are releasing this guidance early to allow schools to begin planning for this year’s events. While graduation and commencement ceremonies will still be different than they were in the past, this is a tremendous step forward for all of our schools, our graduates, and their families.”

Over the past two weeks, Governor Northam and state officials have visited schools at every grade level in 26 school divisions throughout the Commonwealth, highlighting innovative approaches to safe classroom instruction.

According to the release, with Virginia prioritizing vaccinating teachers and school staff early on, more than two-thirds have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

For more information on preliminary guidance for safely holding graduation and commencement events, click here.