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Graduation

Class of 2020

Confirmed date: Monday 11 July 2022

Further details about the day, including the time of the ceremony to which you are allocated and details of how to register, will follow in early 2022 via our website and to your personal email address. Please bear with us whilst we work through these details.

The SU will also be in touch in due course about how to order tickets for the evening event if you wish to attend.

While, at this stage, the UK government is not advising that they expect there to be any COVID related or similar restrictions on gatherings of large numbers by summer 2022, if this advice changes at any time, we will of course update you as soon as possible.

For graduates who completed their course of study between 11 September 2019 and 15 September 2020.

Important update about your graduation ceremony

For graduates who successfully completed their course of study between 11 September 2019 and 15 September 2020.

We hope you and your loved ones are keeping well.

We last wrote to you on 23rd June 2020 to let you know that we had decided to postpone your graduation ceremony until Friday 17th September 2021, because of the continuing uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The last year has been truly unprecedented, and we wanted to make sure that you would have the opportunity to celebrate your achievements, with your family and friends, at the University in a safe but memorable way.

Since then, much has changed. We have lived through additional lockdowns and tighter restrictions, and have missed out on many opportunities to get together. We have also seen huge progress in our battle against the virus, through improved treatments and the extraordinary vaccination rollout. Throughout, the University has kept up to date with the latest Covid-19 information and guidance and we have been working closely with our local authority’s Health Protection Team to ensure we keep our students, staff and local community as safe as possible.

Whilst the Government ‘Road Map’ has suggested that restrictions may be lifted from 21st June 2021, we are mindful that a review of how large-scale events might be run is ongoing, so it is not clear at this stage what limits may be imposed on gatherings, such as graduation, over the summer and early autumn of 2021. In the meantime, our contacts in the Health Protection Team have advised us that while large-scale events are likely to be able to go ahead by that time, we should plan using the ‘1-metre-plus’ approach (1-metre social distancing alongside mitigation measures such as face coverings or screens, for example). This would mean that we would have to run five ceremonies made up of smaller groups of students on five separate days to minimise infection risks. Furthermore, should infection rates change, or a third spike develop, the ceremonies may be cancelled at very short notice by the Health Protection Team acting under Covid-19 laws.

Many universities have postponed in-person graduation ceremonies until 2022 and some are offering virtual graduation only. In recent weeks, a working group has considered in detail a wide range of options for how we might be able to run graduation in a different way. Alternatives considered have ranged from multiple socially distanced ceremonies in July 2021, to postponing to various dates in 2022, a virtual celebration and even a drive-through experience. Although each option has its limitations, our research has given us confidence that some of these possibilities are feasible.

We have consulted the Students’ Union and the 2020 final year captains. All were clear that graduands would not welcome a virtual event and would prefer to delay the ceremony until a time when the Class of 2020 can genuinely come together at the University for the usual graduation experience and without the risk of last minute cancellation. It was also pointed out that graduates of 2020 who are currently working outside the UK may not be able to attend during the summer/autumn of 2021 where travel restrictions apply. All representatives advised that there is a strong preference to postpone until 2022 to enable everyone to have an opportunity to attend.

In light of all of the above factors, we have made the decision to postpone your graduation ceremony until July 2022, by which time we hope that we will be able to welcome the whole Class of 2020 to celebrate on campus on the same day in the usual format. Each ceremony will be followed by a reception for you, your guests and University staff, and a celebratory event organised by the Students’ Union will take place during the evening. We would also provide the opportunity for a year group photograph, as requested by your representatives.

Further details about the day, including the date and time of the ceremony to which you are allocated, and details of how to register, will follow in early 2022 via our website and to your personal email address. Please bear with us whilst we work through these details. The SU will also be in touch in due course about how to order tickets for the evening event if you wish to attend.

We hope that you will agree, as your representatives suggested, that next year’s celebrations will provide the best opportunity to celebrate your incredible efforts to complete your awards in what was an extremely trying year. We really look forward to seeing you back on campus and to being able to share in those celebrations.

Published on 17 May 2021

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