TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — There’s a big change in plans for this year's UA graduation. The University of Arizona says it will allow up to four in-person guests for the ceremonies.
Concerns about spreading COVID-19 had led the University to set in-person graduations that would involve the graduate only. But now the University feels it can have guests safely.
University President Doctor Robert Robbins says UA will still avoid a traditional mass graduation ceremony and hold to its plan to have a series of many smaller events spread from May 11 to May 18.
Students, faculty and staff will be required to have clean COVID tests but graduation guests will not be required to have a test or have proof of a COVID vaccination.
Doctor Robbins says, “We're not doing that at our baseball games or other sporting events, and we think that because we've got people distance in the stadiums and it's an outdoor event and we're going to require and be very attentive to face coverings. During the events that we made the decision not to test.”
Graduation guests will be encouraged to get COVID vaccinations and will be asked to complete a Wildcat Wellcheck---a questionnaire designed to identify symptoms that could indicate a COVID infection.
Robbins says the graduation environment will be designed to offer enough distancing for safety.
Former US Surgeon General Doctor Richard Carmona has been leading the University’s COVID response. He says the decision to allow graduation guests is a combination of weeks of planning and some encouraging COVID statistics.
“But if anything continues to trend in the wrong direction. The President reserves the right to pull back on that and make it totally virtual if it has to be done that way to make sure that our staff, faculty and students are safe, and we've encouraged anybody coming to get a vaccination.”