The familiar sound of “Pomp and Circumstance” opening graduation ceremonies is one that marks the close of one milestone and the beginning of new endeavors for many students.
For a number of students in the graduating Class of 2020, family members and friends will not be able to physically attend ceremonies to watch them walk across the stage and receive their diplomas or degrees. COVID-19 has changed a lot of our common practices from grocery store shopping to gatherings, and graduation is no exception for many across the nation.
How COVID-19 Is Changing Graduation
According to USNews, Harvard University hasn’t made a final decision for commencement as of late. Baylor University of Texas is postponing its graduation ceremonies altogether, and Queens University of Charlotte is postponing its graduation ceremonies so that students can celebrate with their families and peers at a later date. Other schools and universities are turning to virtual ceremonies, drive-in ceremonies, and parades like the Temple, TX community for its high school seniors.
Most important is the health of students and their families, and it’s relieving to see that school officials are working to make this a priority even if it means adjusting some parts of a normal graduation ceremony.
Tips If You’re Planning to Attend An In-Person Graduation
If you are planning to attend an in-person ceremony this spring or summer, here are some graduation safety tips we’d like to share to help you and others stay safe.
1. Consider Wearing a Face Mask
The CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering while out in public and still practicing social distancing. This is to help prevent you from catching the virus as well as prevent those with the virus from spreading it to others. The only masks that are designed to filter out “at least 95% of very small…particles” are N95 filtering facepiece respirators. The CDC does not recommend the general public stocking up on these as they’re more critical for medical and emergency personnel. If you don’t own a face mask, there are many places where you can purchase one online or check out online tutorials to make one on your own.
2. Remember to Stay 6-Feet Apart
While it’s not the easiest, it’s important to stay 6 feet apart, especially while physically attending a graduation ceremony. If the graduation will be held outside, look for stickers or markers to help indicate a safe distance.
3. Keep Your Hands Clean
Washing your hands is not likely to be possible during the ceremony, but you can still keep your hands clean with hand sanitizer. Carry hand sanitizer with you if possible. If you don’t have any, you can try making your own – Insider shares a recipe you can follow.
4. Avoid Touching Your Face
Did you know that we probably touch our faces more than 16 times an hour? According to Healthine, a few studies have confirmed this. While it’s so easy to reach up and rub our eyes (especially during Allergy season), we’ve got to remember that we can transmit germs that can get into our bodies. So, while you’re at graduation, hands off the face. ?
5. Send an Air Hug or Kiss to Family and Friends
Going in for a hug with your bestie or a kiss from mom isn’t the best idea at this time. A number of new ways to greet loved ones has emerged during the pandemic, from toe-taps, to elbow-bumps. You can send an air hug or kiss with family and friends to still share the love
6. If You Are or Feel Sick, Stay Home
And finally, if you are sick or feel sick, please stay at home. We understand that graduation is a very special time in you or your loved one’s life, but there are other ways you can still enjoy that moment. Ask someone to video call you or live stream part of the ceremony if the school or university is not providing live streaming. Photos are still another way to remember moments. Staying at home is a sacrifice, but you also help protect others during this critical time.
Here at Safety.com, we want to say congratulations to the graduating class of 2020 for reaching this very special milestone.