Iconic cap-and-gown college graduations in FL won’t take place for thousands of students

Graduation ceremony. Credit: ShareAlike Commons

Last week, the Florida Phoenix wrote about whether the iconic college commencements were going to take place this spring in Florida, given coronavirus concerns and the logistics:

The ceremonies are often large-scale events with relatives and friends filling up big auditoriums as college grads walk to get their diplomas.

Now, reality has sunk in, with a brief online announcement by the State University System of Florida Tuesday: “Traditional on-campus commencement ceremonies will not be held in May. Instead, each university is directed to develop an alternate schedule or method of delivery.”

What that alternate method of delivery will be is not certain — universities will be working on a plan.

The pomp-and-circumstance commencement exercises are just one of the changes Americans are weathering as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

In Florida, a growing number of deaths and rising COVID-19 infections have led to school closures, restrictions on mass gatherings and other measures.

COVID-19 is the respiratory disease that can be fatal and is caused by the new coronavirus.

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.