We have arrived in the first week of April! I hope you are enjoying the warmer weather and look forward to upcoming campus fun, including Junior Ring Week this week (juniors, sign up for giveaways) and outdoor movies to start with Disney Pixar’s Soul on April 9 on Jefferson Square. For more information on these events and others, check out the Class Council Facebook page.
This week is also Mental Health Awareness Week, and Psi Chi, the Psychology honor society, has worked with several campus offices to create a terrific timeline of events, including a Canal Walk with Dean Cedric Rucker this Saturday April 3. Please see the calendar attached to this email for information. And last but not least, our spring varsity athletics sports are back in action! We have set aside spectator tickets for a limited number of students, faculty, and staff; you will need to present your Eagle One card at the venue.
Here are other important informational items:
- Our local health district (RAHD) will be moving soon into Phase 1c, which encompasses all UMW employees, including student employees. If you are a student employee, please complete this form. Scheduling information may come to you in various ways, so check your spam/junk folders and take calls from unknown contacts on the number you submitted. You will need to be prepared to get the shot the day you are notified.
- Commencement(s), May 6-9, 2021. Last week, we were thrilled to announce in-person commencement ceremonies for the Classes of 2020 and 2021. Commencement will take place on the Campus Recreation field. Because of social distancing guidelines, we will hold several ceremonies that will allow each graduate to invite up to four guests. For the Class of 2021, I have copied Provost Nina Mikhalevsky’s commencement message below with further details.
- Expansion of outdoor gathering capacity. Acknowledging how well you have done with our COVID guidelines (thank you, students!) and tracking with other institutions in Virginia, we have increased our outdoor social gathering limit from 10 to 25. We still require masking and distancing. The distancing requirement remains 6 feet or more.
- Summer plans for Fredericksburg campus. As an FYI, this summer our campus will be undergoing a major and much-needed overhaul of our underground utilities involving steam and water lines. Normal pedestrian traffic along Campus Walk between Virginia Hall and the Bell Tower will be disrupted with detours as construction progresses along the Walk. Please contact Gary Hobson, Director of Capital Outlay, with questions.
April brings a burst of spring energy; it also brings the stressors of the academic year’s end. Please know the faculty and staff are behind you, and we are incredibly proud of you. As always, feel free to contact me with questions.
Juliette Landphair, Ph.D. (she/hers)
Vice President for Student Affairs
University of Mary Washington
REMINDER to parents and guardians of the Class of 2021: In order to attend an in-person commencement ceremony, graduates must RSVP no later than 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 31. Graduates received the link to the response form via email. Below is the information sent earlier this week.
Commencement Planning Update for Parents and Families
To the Parents, Guardians, and Families of the Class of 2021,
While this past year has been challenging, I write today with some good news! We will be holding in-person commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2021 on Saturday, May 8, and Sunday, May 9, on our Fredericksburg campus.
Like much of the last year, this will be a different kind of graduation event involving a new format with multiple ceremonies, limitations on the number of individuals in attendance, a venue different than Ball Circle, and strict health and safety protocols. However, it will have all of the pomp and circumstance, some new unique features, and many of our time-honored traditions.
For several months now we have been concerned that we would not be permitted to celebrate your graduate’s accomplishments in-person, given Virginia’s strict COVID-19 guidelines. However, just last week, Governor Northam announced new guidelines specific to graduation exercises in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Since then, we have been fast at work redesigning our plans so that we can celebrate your graduate and host guests on-campus in accordance with Virginia’s health and safety protocols.
Here’s where things stand:
Where: Virginia’s new commencement guidelines have maximum indoor and outdoor capacities of 500 and 5000, respectively, with strict social distancing requirements of 10’ between parties. We have looked at the maximum capacity of all of our spaces (as you know, we do not have a large football stadium), including Ball Circle, and have determined that our largest possible venue is the “rec field” (between Route 1 and the Alvey parking deck), which can hold 875 people. While we understand the desire to graduate on Ball Circle, it simply isn’t possible, given the Governor’s conditions.
Who: Each graduate will be able to have up to four guests in their party, who will be seated together and 10’ from the next party. Guests will be ticketed, and these tickets are not transferable.
When: Providing each graduate room for four guests means that we will need several ceremonies with up to 150 graduates at each ceremony. The number of ceremonies will be determined by the number of graduates who choose to participate. We have held two days for the 2021 ceremonies, to ensure that every graduate who wants to return to campus to join in this celebration has the opportunity to do so.
What we need from graduates ASAP: In order to determine the number of ceremonies needed for the Class of 2021, we need graduates to tell us whether they intend to participate. We have asked them to complete a form no later than Tuesday, March 30 to let us know their plans. They must complete this link by 11:59 p.m., when the registration closes. We then will create a schedule consistent with protocols for the health and safety of all involved. The commencement schedule and sign up information will be shared the week of April 5.
Regalia will be ordered through the University Bookstore (regalia will be required for participation). Our commencement planning team will be back in touch with graduates soon with further details and information about how to sign up for a ceremony.
University of Mary Washington