The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted many important milestones, including traditional graduations. Instead of walking the stage in a stadium or auditorium filled to the brim with friends and family, 2020 graduates are attending virtual, curbside and limited attendance ceremonies and celebrations.
Campuses have been closed since early March to curb the spread of COVID-19 and moved classes online for remote learning to finish out the school year. In early May, the Texas Education Agency released guidelines for how schools can safely honor graduating seniors amid ongoing public health concerns.
Why do we traditionally celebrate these momentous occasions with large public gatherings? From "Pomp and Circumstance" to wearing gowns and throwing caps, why do we associate specific rituals with certain milestone?
How are Texas and San Antonio-area schools adapting commencement events in the age of COVID-19? Will these changes affect the way we think about celebrating rites of passage post-pandemic?
- Aliyya Swaby, education reporter for the Texas Tribune
- Krista Torralva, education reporter for the San Antonio Express-News
- Simon Bronner, dean of the College of General Studies and professor of social sciences at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee; author of “The Practice of Folklore" and "Campus Traditions”
- Pedro Martinez, superintendent of San Antonio Independent School District
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*This interview was recorded on Thursday, May 21.