By JOSEPH CHAMBERS
CHATTANOOGA, TENN (mocsnews.com) — With COVID-19 still affecting our day-to-day lives and changing our plans for health and safety reasons what does a spring graduation ceremony look like for the class of 2021 at UTC.
Graduation is a monumental moment for students of all stages, graduation symbolizes the end of one chapter and progression towards the next chapter life has in store for students. College students every semester get one step closer to finishing a monumental step in their academic career. The moment when a student walks across the stage and gets their diploma means so much to not only the student that has persevered through education and all the challenges but also the family and friends of each student.
The Spring 2020 semester at UTC and many other universities had no graduation ceremony of any sort until long after the end of the semester. The university held a virtual commencement ceremony on August 30th of 2020.
COVID-19 has put events such as graduation ceremonies at risk of even happening, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has decided with the Fall of 2020 graduation ceremony to be a modified commencement ceremony. For many UTC students and families of the students, they are wondering what graduation will look like in the spring.
There have been many innovative alternatives to the traditional commencement ceremony: Zoom graduations, drive-thru graduations, etc. These are great substitutes for typical graduation and many schools across the nation have begun to implement these alternatives. USA Today even had a post on alternatives that are being used across the nation.
UTC Senior Matthew Guthrie is a fifth-year “super senior,” Matthew has been looking forward to this moment of walking across the stage and accepting his diploma to signify the commencement of his academic career. “I think that they’ll probably do separate ceremonies with students separated by their respective school and set a limited number of parents/family allowed to come.” Matthew Guthrie said, after discussing if he thinks that UTC will have a traditional graduation ceremony when he graduates in the Spring.
UTC Senior Emily Joiner thinks that since COVID-19 is so unpredictable she doesn’t see traditional graduation as an option.
Students across the nation have had many concerns about a graduation ceremony. Vox Media posted an article on multiple students’ opinions of how they want to graduate and receive their diploma and have the typical commencement ceremony.
Students are affected by these decisions of graduation but graduation is not the only problem schools have faced due to the Coronavirus and its impact on the world. Schools as well as many other necessities for the community have had to change how they have operated with implementing masks, changing schedules, “E-learning”, and many other differences that have had to be in effect to maintain safety for all.
UTC professors and other faculty members have had to adapt their teaching styles and the ways they provide for students so much. UTC Professor Michael Chambers spoke on the difficulties of the education system and teaching students during this time. “Knowledge retention with primarily virtual classes worries me as students move on to classes that require prerequisite class knowledge as a foundation.” Chambers hopes that it will happen in person for the Spring semester to some capacity.