Due to still-evolving COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates in Salt Lake County and the rest of the state of Utah, university leaders announced this week they would postpone plans for winter convocations until spring 2021.
“We know this is disappointing and frustrating, particularly for the Class of 2020, which has not been able to celebrate this life achievement in-person as a group,” said Lori McDonald, vice president for Student Affairs.
When campus closed down in March, university leaders made contingency plans to celebrate 2020 graduates from spring, summer and fall semesters during college convocations in December. However, based on the best current advice of University of Utah Health epidemiologists and Salt Lake County and Utah Department of Health experts, university administrators have decided not to return to campus after fall classes shift to online-only instruction Nov. 30 after Thanksgiving break.
“Commencement is one of the happiest events that take place on a university’s campus and we truly regret its loss,” McDonald wrote in a letter to students this week. “We are determined to recognize your years of study and hard work at a later date—and we expect you to hold us to that promise.”
Depending on the progression of coronavirus infections and the development of a vaccine, McDonald said, the university will plan to recognize both the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2020 during Commencement 2021 events on May 6-7, 2021.