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Virginia is loosening restrictions on outdoor graduations

March 18, 2021 GMT

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s schools and college can hold outdoor graduation ceremonies with as many as 5,000 attendees.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that Gov. Ralph Northam made the announcement on Wednesday.

The Democratic governor said that Virginia will restrict capacity at outdoor ceremonies to 5,000 people or 30% of the venue’s capacity. It will be whichever is less.

Indoor ceremonies will be capped at 500 people or 30% of the venue’s capacity, whichever is less. All attendees will need to wear masks and socially distance themselves.

“While graduation and commencement ceremonies will still be different than they were in the past, this is a tremendous step forward for all of our schools, our graduates and their families,” Northam said in a statement.

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School districts and colleges across the state are still deciding how best to honor this year’s graduates.

For instance, the University of Virginia is considering two proposals. One is to hold an in-person graduation this spring with no guests. The other is to postpone graduation until guests can attend.

Virginia Tech intends to host several in-person ceremonies with a restricted number of guests. It will also host an online ceremony.