As we continue our spring semester planning, we are writing with some news about the Class of 2021 Commencement and Joint Commissioning ceremonies, scheduled for Saturday, May 1. We do not have all of the details yet but wanted to provide you with as much information as we can so you may plan accordingly.
First, it is our intention to hold both Commencement and Joint Commissioning ceremonies on the same day and in-person. All graduating seniors studying on campus, are commuting, or are studying remotely are invited to participate.
While we all continue to make progress pertaining to COVID, the scale of our commencement and commissioning celebrations remains very limited by Vermont guidelines for large gatherings. As a result, we will not be able to welcome families, friends, faculty, or staff who are not immediately part of a ceremony to join the celebration on campus. Unfortunately, this also includes students from previous graduating classes. As we have done in the past, we will stream our events live so that all may join in on the celebration virtually.
We had originally hoped to bring our Class of 2020 graduates back to campus to join the Class of 2021 for an in-person ceremony this coming spring. Unfortunately, the same conditions that prevent us from welcoming large numbers of attendees for the Class of 2021 also apply to welcoming back the Class of 2020. We remain committed to bringing together the Class of 2020 for a future in-person Commencement and have not forgotten how important that ceremony will be to them and to the entire Norwich family.
We know this news is yet another disappointment in a long list of pandemic-related losses, especially for families who have looked forward to this day for years. Like you, we have been looking forward to this milestone occasion too! The health and safety of our entire community is our highest priority, and we must abide by state and local guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic, which include greatly limiting gathering sizes and visitors on campus.
We are considering a number of possibilities for the in-person events to incorporate many of our Norwich traditions. The exact details for these ceremonies are still being developed, but you should plan for the possibility of a 9 a.m. start to Commencement. To ensure that all graduating seniors are honored in the manner they deserve, Norwich University will hold small, simultaneous ceremonies at scheduled times during the day.
The Joint Commissioning Ceremony is currently being planned to begin at 3 p.m. It will be an outdoor event on Sabine field following all of the commencement ceremonies. U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Smith, dean of the College of National Services, will be providing more information to candidates, in writing.
Finally, to all graduating students, it is vitally important that you read the following information that is relevant to your current status:
ON-CAMPUS RESIDENTIAL GRADUATES
All students need to be checked out of the barracks and residence halls by 7 p.m. May 1. Students will be required to have all of their belongings out of their rooms at that time. On-campus storage will not be available.
OUT OF STATE COMMUTER AND REMOTE STUDENT GRADUATES
Graduates Arriving via Public Transportation
Graduates traveling by public transportation (plane, train, bus, or taxi) will be required to submit to an on-campus room quarantine upon arriving on Tuesday, April 20 through Thursday, April 29. These graduates will also be required to test on day zero, Tuesday, April 20 and again on day seven, Tuesday, April 27.
While in room quarantine, students will not be permitted to leave their assigned rooms except to use restroom facilities, for assigned COVID testing, and to pick up meals provided in the Milano Ballroom. Students are expected to bring their own linens and personal items. Returning graduates staying on campus will be held accountable to the NU Student Rules and Regulations, and the Student Behavioral Contract.
All students must leave campus immediately following Commencement or the Joint Commissioning ceremonies on May 1, when campus closes.
Graduates Arriving via Personal Vehicle
Graduates traveling by personal vehicle (not using public transportation) must follow the Vermont State guidelines for out-of-state travelers.
On-campus housing for those arriving via personal vehicle is available beginning on Friday, April 30th. Students must arrive by 5 p.m. and are expected to bring their own linens and personal items. Returning graduates staying on campus will be held accountable to the NU Student Rules and Regulations, and the Student Behavioral Contract.
All students must leave campus immediately following Commencement exercises or the Joint Commissioning ceremonies on May 1 when campus closes.
Graduates arriving by personal vehicle may opt to stay off campus.
IN-STATE COMMUTER STUDENT GRADUATES
Once approved, students will be permitted to come to campus to visit the NU Bookstore for academic regalia, visit the COVID-19 testing site, and to attend Commencement and Joint Commissioning. Students shall come directly to campus and then return directly home. NOTE: Vermont-based students may come to campus for their test. For the most current hours of operations or to schedule an appointment, click here.
Graduates who are fully vaccinated or who were previously COVID-19 positive in the last 90 days will not be required to test or quarantine.
Thank you for your patience and your understanding as we continue to plan for a safe celebration of these most significant milestones. Additional details, including Commencement and Commissioning Speakers are forthcoming and will be posted to www.norwich.edu/commencement.