EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Graduates participating in the University of Texas at El Paso's in-person May commencement will be allowed to bring up to eight guests each, the university announced Thursday.
The ceremonies will take place Friday, May 14 and Saturday, May 15 at 7 p.m. each evening. The university said it made the decision after reviewing how Covid-19 is currently impacting the El Paso community.
UTEP announced in March it would hold in-person commencement at the Sun Bowl Stadium for the Class of 2020 and the upcoming candidates for 2021. Graduates who wanted to participate were asked to RSVP. UTEP said more than 3,800 students have RSVPed.
“We are in a much different place than last year at this time, in terms of the number of cases of COVID-19 and the number of people who have been vaccinated,” said UTEP President Heather Wilson. “Our 2020 and Spring 2021 graduates have worked hard to earn their degrees, and their achievements deserve to be celebrated with their loved ones.”
UTEP said capacity at the Sun Bowl will not exceed 50% even if all participating graduates bring eight guests. Families will be socially distanced. Face masks will be required. Hand sanitizing stations will be set up as well.
Graduates will be able to walk across the stage as their name is called and have their photo taken, but UTEP said "there will be no physical contact between the graduates and the stage party."
The May 14 ceremony will honor bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral graduates and candidates in the colleges of Business Administration, Education and Liberal Arts. The May 15 ceremony will be for the colleges of Engineering, Health Sciences and Science, and the schools of Nursing and Pharmacy.
UTEP said students who missed the RSVP deadline can email email@example.com and ask to be added to the RSVP list.