Back in March when COVID-19 first made its way to Chattanooga, a conclusion was reached to postpone commencement ceremonies until August. We hoped the virus would run its course and that we could safely celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2020 in August.
As we move forward with plans for fall semester, we were confronted by the following choice: Do we proceed with hosting large groups on campus for graduation ceremonies, or do we cancel the rescheduled events?
After many discussions with campus leaders, due to the escalating number of COVID-19 cases in Tennessee, overall—and Hamilton County, in particular—the Executive Leadership Team has made the painful decision of canceling commencement.
This was not a decision made in haste. We consulted with medical professionals and the consensus was that hosting events of this scale just days before the opening of the school year increased the risk of spreading the virus throughout our campus community. Coupled with the recent increase in local cases, we came to the heartbreaking conclusion that we could not host these ceremonies.
We know how much an in-person commencement means to our recent graduates and their families, but the health and safety of everyone at UTC must remain our number one concern.