University of Tennessee to hold in-person graduations this fall

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The University of Tennessee announced Friday it will hold in-person graduation ceremonies this fall.

Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman announced the decision in her COVID-19 briefing Friday afternoon. These upcoming events won’t look like traditional ceremonies, due to social distancing and other steps.

This will cover graduates for the fall plus the summer and spring grads whose events were canceled due to the pandemic.

Plowman said that the university has learned a lot about handling events safely in the months since.

“I’m just giving you a heads up there are parts of this you won’t like but it is a great plan that allows us to do much of what we want to do in commencement,” Plowman said, “The timing and such may not thrill everyone.”

The university’s plan splits commencement up over the course of four days during the weekend of Nov. 20. Three events will be held per day over the four days for a total of 12 events.

Each event will feature 200 graduates. Grads will be allowed a limited number of guests. Graduates will not shake hands on stage. Mask requirements and social distancing protocols will be in place.

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