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Brown U to Hold In-Person Commencement for Grads, Virtual Event for Guests

Rhode Island's Brown University has announced its plan to hold commencement in person for graduates while members and guests will attend virtually. The class of 2021 will be hosted on campus on May 1 and 2, although the university noted that it expects most graduates studying remotely during the spring to participate virtually as well.

According to a commencement FAQ, students "who are on campus or in the Providence area will attend commencement ceremonies in person in accordance with public health protocols."

Originally, the institution was hoping to hold a "once-in-a-lifetime double commencement" this year, to recognize the graduations of both the classes of 2020 and 2021. That would coincide with a reunion weekend. But the public health "situation" has made that infeasible, according to the institution. Now the reunion will be held virtually, and class of 2020 graduates will be invited to participate in an as-yet undetermined event "to meaningfully honor their achievements."

On Aug. 11, 2020, the University outlined a phased approach to welcoming students back for the fall semester. Graduate and medical students choosing to study on campus during the fall arrived in August. A limited number of undergraduates were allowed to return for the fall; they arrived in late September, after starting their studies online. In October, Brown said it would allow a larger number of undergraduates to return for an in-person residential experience.

In the university's most recent COVID-19 update, school officials had identified 29 positive cases during the latest seven days, in a total of 12,173 tests among 7,857 people. That's a positivity rate of 0.2 percent. All individuals — both staff and students — are tested either once or twice each week, depending on how much contact they have with others.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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