ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The class of 2021 are ready to turn the page after graduating from college. But current college students are wondering what school will look like for them when they return in the fall.
The tassel was worth the hassle.
“All my hard work, dedication and time I put in, it all came down to today,” said Erica Graham, Graduate at SUNY Polytechnic Institute.
Graduation season is in full swing as graduates of SUNY Poly received their diplomas Friday at an outdoor ceremony. For Zach Olmsted it meant everything to have his mom there for his special day.
“At first we didn’t know if there was even going to be a ceremony. So when I found out they were having it, I was really exciting,” said Olmsted.
“Obviously live streaming the graduation through zoom was an option for parents. But being able to be here in person is indescribable, it’s a dream come true to watch him get his PHD,” said Renee Olmsted.
State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras joined Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger and students from the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences for its inaugural graduation ceremony.
All SUNY schools are offering in person as well as virtual graduation ceremonies. Attendees must follow all COVID-19 safety protocols including: no more than 200 total people inside the stadium at one time, a 12-foot physical distancing guideline and wearing a mask.
“We try to make it special for each individual campus and each individual program,” said Chancellor Malatras.
“People that facilitated this ceremony today really did a great job. They kept the students up to date on what was required in terms of testing and making sure that our guests were safe as well,” said Graham.
As graduates get ready for their next chapter, underclassmen are hoping to get back to normal. Chancellor Malatras says vaccines will be required for the fall semester.
“We are working through that vaccination process right now and especially for exemptions like religious and other medical conditions. We are going to prepare that process right now. But the thing at SUNY is are our students want to get vaccinated,” said he.
When it comes to fully vaccinated people not wearing masks on campus, SUNY is still waiting on guidance from the state.
“It wouldn’t just be in classroom. But the theater to watch the arts again with their fellow students or colleagues, or going to a sporting event or seeing a commencement. All of those things are part of normal college life,” said Chancellor Malatras.