Long Beach State’s class of 2020 is scheduled to join the class of 2021 commencement celebration next May, President Jane Close Conoley announced Friday.
After weighing health concerns stemming from the coronavirus, CSULB officials decided the safest option would be to push the public event to the week of May 17-23, 2021.
According to Jeff Cook, chief communications officer for CSULB, the public health department denied the school’s plans for an in-person commencement in fall of 2020.
“We are committed to providing our class of 2020 with an in-person experience for graduation,” Cook said. “Due to the current COVID conditions in L.A. County, we had no choice but move forward recognizing both graduating classes next year.”
Cook said additional days and ceremonies will be added to the May commencement to honor all participants.
In a video statement from May, Conoley said she felt the heartbreak of commencement being postponed and that graduates deserve an in-person celebration to honor their achievement.
“While the delay may be disappointing, it is necessary to safeguard the health of those in attendance and meet the expectations of our students and families to offer an in-person experience,” Conoley said in the statement released Friday.
While considering a virtual commencement, CSULB administrators surveyed the student body and found that the majority of students were willing to wait to experience an in-person event.
Officials promised the class of 2020 there would be an update about their commencement by August 1, Cook said, and considered several options before submitting the most cautious plan to the public health department.
“We recognize the importance to our students and their families to provide equitable recognition of both class years,” Cook said. “We will provide an update in December 2020.”