Humboldt State University has changed its rules around commencement ceremonies and will now allow students to bring two registered guests along with them.
Previously, the separate colleges had separate ceremonies and only students and faculty were allowed, with the ceremony being livestreamed for peoples families. Now, a couple of guests per student will be able to attend one of the multiple ceremonies that will be celebrating students’ graduation.
The change was made possible by the loosening of COVID-19 safety guidelines which are being seen across the country. As vaccines become more available, more counties are starting to move out of the most restrictive of threat tiers. While there are still significant risks, positive cases in California have fallen significantly and as a result, more campuses feel secure allowing for larger gatherings.
While people will be allowed to attend, according to Humboldt State University’s Communications specialist, Grant Scott-Goforth, there will still be significant safety precautions in place to ensure that students, staff, and family are protected from infection.
“There are still a lot of safety requirements the University and participants must follow, including conducting a wellness self check before attending, wearing a face covering at all times, maintaining six feet of social distancing, and more,” Scott-Goforth said. “We’re also filling Redwood Bowl to only about 10-15 percent of capacity, which is well within the guidelines. The timing of the decision coincided with the county moving to a less restrictive tier and our confidence in the fact that we were seeing lower disease transmission across the state.”
The opportunity to bring in guests to the ceremony is a welcome bonus for a lot of students, many of whom are feeling worn down after the consecutive graduation years of restrictions and lock downs.
This move also comes not long after Humboldt State University has changed the rules regarding travel, allowing students who are living on campus to travel within the state without a 14 day quarantine period afterwards.
Graduating senior Jesus Flores said that he is happy with the school’s decision, and that this is something students really needed following the hard couple of semesters.
“I think that allowing two guests per person is amazing because many students have been struggling to stay motivated this past year and having that support from their family and cheering them on for their hard work,” Flores said. “This is what students need right now and following CDC guidelines will ensure that students, like myself, are celebrated while doing it safely.”
While two guests is limiting, it still presents the opportunity for students to bring their parents who also want to commemorate their child’s achievements in person. With the restrictions on travel and guests, students living far away from their families lacked ways to come together and if they were living on campus may not have been able to see each other over the last winter break before the spring semester.
Graduating HSU senior, Jourden Lamar, said that he is happy that he and other graduating students will be able to walk and celebrate with their families.
“I’m very appreciative that we have the opportunity to walk in person and bring guests,” Lamar said. “I wish we could bring more than two people, but all around I’m happy that I get to spend this moment with my parents.”