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  • Sam Chapman, News Contributor

Dr. Sara Morris discusses Commencement and next semester

By: Sam Chapman, News Contributor

Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Sara Morris said Monday that Canisius is preparing for fully in-person classes and events for the fall 2021 semester.

“Our hope is for a return to fully in-person classes with full density,” Morris said.

Morris cited the opening of vaccines to people ages 16 and above as a major catalyst for this return to a significant reversal back to in-person classes.

“We did not know when students would be eligible for vaccination, and that’s a game changer in terms of having campus be safe for the entire community,” Morris said .

Above all else, one thing is clear — vaccinations are highly recommended and are the most important aspect of returning to anything close to what we used to consider a usual school year. “We are strongly encouraging that students, faculty, and staff be vaccinated,” Morris said. “The more people that are vaccinated, the more traditional or typical our fall is going to be.”

However, those hoping for a mask-free fall semester will likely have to wait.

“I do expect we will continue to have mask-wearing throughout the fall semester to help avoid the possibility of any transmission for anybody within the classroom,” Morris said.

Morris also discussed the upcoming hybrid graduation, saying that the school’s goal is to provide a ceremony that celebrates the graduates, while remaining a safe environment.

In terms of the procedure of the ceremony, Morris said they will have every graduate called by name in the virtual graduation ceremony as a means for accommodating those unable to attend in person. Morris said they decided to go virtual because they wanted to ensure that no graduate is excluded from the ceremony.

The school will also host multiple in-person “graduation walk” ceremonies for the graduates of the classes of 2020 and 2021. No more than 100 students at a time will be scheduled to go to Montante Cultural Center to participate in the “Graduation Walk.” Each student will have an assigned seat.

During the graduation walk, graduates will have the opportunity to cross the stage and receive their diploma cover and also get a picture with the administration. Graduates will also have the chance to take off their masks for a photo with their diploma covers. There will be no guests allowed to attend the graduation walk. Two guests will be allowed per student and will be able to be on-campus to watch the livestream of the ceremony.

“I am unbelievably proud of the faculty for creating learning opportunities the best that they possibly could to maintain the Canisius traditions, while managing to deal with their professional and personal lives,” Morris said. “I am unbelievably proud of our students for taking everything very, very seriously … and actually helping make this academic experience an even better one.”

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