Covid-19 uncertainty forces Lancaster University to postpone summer graduation ceremonies until 2022
Lancaster University bosses have postponed this summer's graduation ceremonies amid Covid-19 fears.
The decision has been made to push back the celebrations due to "a significant number of unknowns and risk" - although the government's roadmap suggests people should be beginning to return to 'normal life' by late June.
It means those due to graduate this summer will return in 2022 - along with those who finished their studies last year who also missed their ceremonies - for a delayed celebration alongside those graduating next year.
Students will also continue to study virtually, with all classroom teaching suspended until the end of term.
It is hoped that postgraduate ceremonies planned for this December will still go ahead.
A university spokesman said: "The decision was made due to a significant number of unknowns and risks around holding large events this summer and was also directly informed by the results of a recent survey sent to graduating students.
"While we want to celebrate graduation in person with our students and recent graduates as soon as possible, and we welcome the Government’s roadmap to reopening, there is still considerable risk in planning to run summer graduation ceremonies in 2021.
"We wanted to make a decision now to provide clarity to those affected students, and more detailed information has been sent to those directly affected.
"Planning for the winter graduation for postgraduate students in December 2021 is ongoing, and we hope to welcome back postgraduates who had their 2020 ceremony postponed as well as those graduating in 2021, subject to it being safe and practicable to hold large events.
"We have tentatively scheduled graduations for an extended summer session in July 2022 which will include undergraduates from the Class of 2020 and 2021, as well as 2022."
The university also plans to increase capacity at graduation ceremonies for up to five years, so that anyone not able to return to the next ceremony session will have additional opportunities to return to Lancaster for a future graduation ceremony when it suits them and their guests.
"We are committed to providing all students the opportunity to attend a traditional graduation ceremony at Lancaster," the spokesman said.
In the meantime, a virtual ceremony will be held this summer to celebrate the achievements of graduating students, and the university's graduation team will work with colleges and faculties to mark the students’ achievements, while saving many of the traditional graduation activities for postponed ceremonies.
"We share our students’ disappointment in not being able to hold graduation ceremonies this summer but look forward to welcoming them back to Lancaster for the graduation they so rightly deserve," the spokesman added.