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College, university graduation ceremonies continue with restrictions following governor’s announcement

Masks were still encouraged for unvaccinated people and social distancing guidelines were in...
Masks were still encouraged for unvaccinated people and social distancing guidelines were in place for guests and graduates.(WBTV)
Published: May. 14, 2021 at 11:34 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The end to capacity and mass gathering limits in North Carolina means you can expand your guest list, but some events are choosing not to adopt the changes just yet.

Governor Roy Cooper’s announcement Friday lifting all mass gathering, capacity limits, and most mandatory mask requirements came just hours before most weekend graduation ceremonies.

UNC Charlotte didn’t make any changes to its 6 p.m. ceremony Friday and officials say they aren’t making changes for its Saturday ceremony. Masks were still encouraged and social distancing guidelines were in place for guests and graduates.

To read the university’s response to the Governor’s announcement, click here.

While these restrictions remain, graduates say they’re happy to be in person with their closest friends and family.

“It’s been a long journey. My sister graduated last year and she didn’t get to have a ceremony so I’m just really happy that we got to do that today,” said graduate Jack Miniutti.

Students were given three guest tickets and social distancing was encouraged between groups.

While seats are limited, the Clark family says they’re grateful to see their daughter’s accomplishments in person.

“I’m so proud and just blessed to even be here today,” Lyndia Clark said.

The Clarks say they hope restrictions are eased even more at UNCC when their son graduates next year.

“A lot of our family couldn’t come and attend because of what’s going on so hopefully by that time we’ll be able to celebrate and get back to the new normal,” Derrick Clark said.

As hundreds of students closed this chapter, some say the lifted gathering and capacity limits are a new opportunity for the underclassmen.

“I’m glad that they get to have their senior year in person cause [we] definitely missed out on that this year,” said graduate Holyn Jeffrey.

Livingstone College and Johnson C. Smith University also have their graduation ceremonies this weekend and staff say they’ll be keeping gathering limits and masks requirements in place.

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