May 4—SCHUYLKILL HAVEN — Plans are in place for Penn State Schuylkill students to not only graduate in person, but for their fall semester classes to be face to face.
The campus will celebrate members of the Class of 2021 at an in-person commencement at 10 a.m. Saturday under a tent in a parking lot by the main classroom building.
To keep with guidelines on social distancing to curb the spread of the coronavirus, each graduate can invite only four guests, who must have a ticket. Those attending have to wear face masks and maintain social distancing.
The ceremony will also be livestreamed on the campus' website.
Saturday's graduation will be the first on the campus in North Manheim Township since 2019. Last year's ceremony was conducted virtually because cases of the virus forced the campus to close.
Lia Morrison, director of strategic communications, said the campus is "incredibly excited" to personally recognize the 2021 graduates.
"We've been through so much as a campus community this past year, it will be wonderful to celebrate in person," she said Monday.
Morrison said about 60 students will graduate Saturday, although not all will be present. Students attending will be presented with a diploma cover; all graduates will be mailed their diplomas at a later date.
To comply with guidelines on capacity and social distancing set by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only those graduating this spring will be at Saturday's ceremony, but Morrison said Penn State officials plan to recognize 2020 graduates on its campuses next spring.
Before Saturday's commencement, the campus was able to recognize its students' achievements in person for the first time since 2019 at its Academic Achievement Awards ceremony April 23.
Morrison said the campus plans to conduct its fall semester classes fully in person after students arrive back on campus. The first day of fall classes is Aug. 23, with students residing in on-campus apartments moving in the weekend before.
However, those plans are contingent upon the number of COVID-19 cases at the time. Online classes are available through Penn State World.
She said while the university hasn't made an announcement on vaccinations being required for students, she said students, faculty and staff are being strongly encouraged to get inoculated.
A vaccination clinic for the Penn State Schuylkill campus community, as well as alumni, family and friends ages 18 or older, was conducted April 23 in partnership with Providence Place Senior Living.
Nationwide, a growing number of schools, including Lehigh University in Bethlehem, are requiring students to receive a vaccine before arriving on campus for the fall semester.
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