Emerson Class of 2020 commencement pushed to next year

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Media: Derek Palmer for Emerson College

Soledad O'Brien speaking to graduates during 2019's commencement ceremony.

The classes of 2020 and 2021 will share a commencement weekend in May 2021, the college announced Friday

Both commencement ceremonies will take place the same weekend on May 8-9. The college will host two separate ceremonies, rather than one joint commencement for both groups. 

While we remain committed to holding an in-person ceremony for the Class of 2020, it is becoming clear that we will not be able to do so before next spring” the college said in a statement. 

Massachusetts requirements for reopening the state after the COVID-19 pandemic require a vaccine or treatment for the disease before beginning Phase 4, which permits large gatherings. Since neither have been approved for COVID-19, the college cannot host a commencement ceremony for seniors who graduated this year in the foreseeable future.  

This year’s commencement weekend was originally set to take place on May 9-10 before it was postponed due to the rapid acceleration of the pandemic in the U.S. 

The ceremony is typically held in Boston University’s Agganis Arena and draws thousands of attendees. Under current Massachusetts social distancing regulations, an in-person ceremony would be significantly curtailed.

College officials were not immediately available for comment.