The decision to have this semester’s May commencement ceremony without limitations on the number of guests and no mask requirements, which is in line with the University’s guidelines, has some seniors happy and some students worried about the consequences of the large event.
At The Index, we believe that while it seems that many seniors are happy that May commencement is returning to how it was before COVID-19, we are still wary of any consequences this may bring.
We have noticed many graduating students are excited to be allowed to bring their entire family to the ceremony to celebrate their years of hard work. Some students have large families, and being able to bring them all to the event is a great feeling.
It has also been a very long time since there has been an in-person May commencement, which is much larger than the December commencement ceremony. We have seen that bringing back this tradition has made a lot of seniors and their families happy.
However, with that in mind, it is highly debated whether or not the pandemic is behind us. Bringing in a large number of people from different regions could also bring in other illnesses.
Truman has only two documented cases of COVID-19 that are either active or in isolation as of April 12, according to truman.edu/coronavirus/reporting. Some have concerns of this number rising for the Truman and Kirksville community when large amounts of people travel to the area.
Some concerns have been raised about the decision that students who are immunocompromised would have to make. Should they go to this large-scale in-person event, or to skip out on a celebration of their newly earned degree. The same goes for guests that may be immunocompromised.
There is also the possibility of inclimate weather resulting in the event being moved to the Pershing Arena. If this is the case, there will not be the added benefit of fresh moving air that the outdoors ensures. However, if this is the case, graduates will be limited to four guests, which is still a large number of people. But we still recognize that the risk of spread is lower, and that the decision has been made with much thought.