FSU weighing public health risk before setting date for graduation ceremony

Published: Apr. 29, 2020 at 5:54 PM CDT
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Graduation is a special time for students and families.

It’s the final payoff for years of hard work, but for those graduating this spring, the coronavirus put all of that on hold.

“We were all super sad, but at the same time I understand the gravity of the situation and I don't want people's health at risk,” said Florida State University Senior Gabrielle Renauld.

FSU Senior Rebecca Caro is heading to work in Colorado after she has her diploma in hand.

The graduation delay means she likely won’t get to walk at all.

“I'm not sure that it's particularly worth it for me to take the time and the money to just walk across a stage,” said Caro.

Many universities in Florida have set Summer or Fall dates to hold ceremonies for Spring graduates.

More than 3,200 have signed an online petition asking FSU to do the same.

The university has committed to holding a ceremony for Spring graduates, but the date remains uncertain.

“Before families book travel and book hotels and once again are disappointed, we want to make sure that we have a really solid date,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Amy Hecht.

The university’s main concern is the health and safety of students and their families.

Nine to 12,000 gather in the school’s civic center during a typical graduation.

Hecht tells us the university will look to health and government officials for the go-ahead.

“It's no surprise that students want that experience and we're going to give it to them when it's safe to do so,” said Hecht.

Still, students we spoke with said they’d like to have a date to look forward to.

“I think it'd be really helpful for graduating seniors like me that are making the move across the country and starting a new job to be able to start making those plans,” said Caro.

“A lot of other schools have already established a date you know like in August, so I think that it's not unrealistic to try,” said Renauld.

The University is holding a virtual graduation for students this weekend.

While it isn’t ideal, the students we spoke with agreed it’s the right move in these unprecedented times.

In addition to the virtual ceremony, FSU is also hosting virtual competitions and celebration activities for seniors throughout the week.