WATERLOO — Liam Priestman is disappointed he won’t be able to graduate in person from Conestoga College this year, even as the two area universities resume live ceremonies.
“I’m disappointed that my parents, who have supported me throughout my academic journey, won’t see me cross the stage and graduate,” said Priestman, who will receive her business administration degree this year.
Priestman said college communication was poor, adding that he found out about a friend’s virtual summons.
The school said the decision was made to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The convocation will be virtual to protect the health of graduates, families and the college community, college spokeswoman Brenda Cassidy said.
“As the virus continues to mutate and spread at high levels across Ontario, many public health officials continue to warn that large public gatherings pose a substantial risk to attendees, despite rising rates. vaccination rates,” she said.
In-person meetings where more than 1,000 attendees are expected would pose a significant risk of transmission and spread, she said.
“We understand the decision to keep the ceremonies virtual this spring is disappointing,” Cassidy said.
During the pandemic, the college has provided pre-recorded graduation videos, organized by program, for students to watch.
While Priestman understands the concern over COVID-19, he feels it’s contradictory that classes and exams are being held in person, while the call is still a long way off.
“Yesterday I took an exam in a gymnasium with about 75 other kids, but somehow I’m fine.”
Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo both plan to hold in-person convocations in June.
Graduates who had virtual ceremonies in 2020 and 2021 will also have the chance to receive their degrees and diplomas on stage.
“I feel a bit left out,” Priestman said.
While Priestman said he was not trying to criticize the college, he is saddened by the decision.
“I’m just disappointed that this is the end point of my studies at Conestoga. It ends on a bit of a sour note,” he said.