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April 29 - To Class of 2021 undergraduate students: Policies for Commencement guests

Dear Class of 2021 undergraduate students,

Congratulations on your upcoming Commencement celebration. As announced earlier this week, due to changes in state regulations, the University is now able to accommodate two guests per graduate at your ceremony on Sunday, May 9 as well as for Baccalaureate Mass on Saturday, May 8. We look forward to sharing this special time with you and your loved ones.

Please note that very little has changed with regards to the order of exercises, testing requirements for students, or safety protocols communicated previously. Please read this message carefully in preparation for next week, and also refer to information posted on the Commencement webpage.

Celebratory Car Parade

Join the Senior Challenge committee on a drive through Newport during the Class of 2021 car parade and commemorate your achievements over the last four years. Celebrate your graduation by giving your car oodles of spirit with window markers and decorations beforehand.

The car parade will leave from the Young Building at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 8 and advance registration is required. Make sure to arrive by 12:45 p.m. for check-in. Occupants of each vehicle must be from the same household. Family members are free to gather along the parade route.

Baccalaureate Mass

Baccalaureate Mass will be celebrated at 4 p.m. under the Commencement tent on the McAuley Hall lawn. Students who RSVP’d in advance will check in near the entrance to the tent. A maximum of two guests will be allowed. Guests must follow the policies outlined below and be accompanied by their student at check-in prior to Mass. The Mass will also be live-streamed via a link on the Commencement webpage.

COVID-19 Testing

Students who have participated in Salve Regina’s mandatory testing program leading up to Commencement do not need to provide additional documentation of a negative COVID-19 test. Students who were remote this semester or who have not participated in Senior Week activities must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test (rapid or PCR) administered within 48 hours (2 days) of the ceremony upon check-in. This can be shown electronically or via printout.

Check-In for Students

Commencement check-in for students will be located at Rodgers Recreation Center. All graduates are required to park in the Rodgers lot to allow for guest parking in other areas. Please plan to arrive at least one hour before your scheduled ceremony start time. Ceremonies are at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Anyone arriving late will risk missing the procession from Rodgers to the Commencement tent.

Check-In and Policies for Guests

Students who have confirmed their participation are allowed a maximum of two guests at their ceremony. No more than two guests will be permitted under any circumstances, so please do not call University offices to ask how extra tickets may be obtained. There are no tickets being distributed this year due to safety protocols.

  • Guest check-in will be located at the Misto Gatehouse, and this will serve as the single point of entry to the Commencement area. Guest check-in will begin approximately one hour prior to their student’s scheduled ceremony.
  • Guests do not need to RSVP, as they will be checked in according to their student’s name.
  • Guests do not need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test per state guidelines, however they will be screened upon check-in.
  • Candidates and their guests will receive wristbands color-coded by ceremony to assist with safety protocols.
  • Masks must be worn at all times (even outdoors) according to University policy, and all guests are asked to follow the established social distancing guidelines of at least three feet. We are aware of recent guidelines from the CDC and elsewhere regarding masks. However, in order to protect the health and safety of those volunteering during the ceremonies, we are maintaining our current University policies at this time. If you do not wish to wear a mask within the Commencement area, you are free to watch the ceremony virtually from another location.
  • Once guests are checked in, they may find a seat in the designated seating area. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Guests will not be allowed to leave their seats during the ceremony to take photos or congregate elsewhere. Should a guest need to leave the tent area for personal or emergency matters, they will be escorted by staff to the tent exit.

The Commencement tent will be open on the sides to accommodate air flow. The oceanside location can be cooler than anticipated, so please plan accordingly. The bookstore will be open in Miley Hall for any last-minute sweatshirt needs or other items. Coffee and refreshments will also be available inside the O’Hare Academic Building.

Given the recent pivot to accommodate guests, the tent setup will include monitors near the seating area to provide additional viewing opportunities.

Each ceremony will be live-streamed, with the link available on the Commencement webpage. Do not panic if the link is not immediately active. When ready, a countdown will appear to indicate the program is about to begin. Due to space and staffing restrictions, there will be no separate location on campus to view the livestream of the ceremony.

Photography

Guests will not be allowed to leave their seats during the ceremony to take pictures. The University has contracted with GradImages to provide professional photography for families in compliance with established safety protocols.

GradImages will take one photo of each student receiving their diploma case from the president (with mask) and there will also be an area set as each graduate descends the stage where a photo will be taken without a mask. GradImages will contact you directly regarding those photos in the event you wish to purchase them.

Following each ceremony, families will be allowed to take photographs on campus as long as they remain outside of any buildings. Graduates will process out of the tent and across Ochre Point Avenue to the Gerety Hall lawn, where they can reunite with family members. Congregating will not be permitted within the perimeters of the Commencement area so that we may properly prepare for the ceremonies to follow.

The large SALVE letters will be available for photos on the Gerety lawn and a class banner will be hung from Ochre Court. We simply ask that you keep a safe social distance from others and that you re-mask after a photograph is taken so others may also safely take photos.

Exiting Campus

If you are participating in an earlier ceremony, please be sure to exit campus as soon as possible following photographs so that attendees for the later celebrations may enter and check in on time. Campus should be cleared by noon for the 1 p.m. ceremony and by 3 p.m. for the final ceremony at 4 p.m. Families are invited to return to campus around 6 p.m. for any remaining photography or other needs.

Social Media

The University has several social media accounts. Please consider tagging us and using the hashtag #salve2021 so that we may continue to share in your celebration.

We recognize that all of you have worked extremely hard and have made many sacrifices for this moment. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we have continued to adjust to an incredible amount of change throughout this pandemic, especially in the two weeks leading to Commencement. We are thrilled that we can provide an in-person celebration for all graduates and their two guests to share in the experience.

At Salve Regina, we deeply value our connections to one another and the importance of every single member of our community. Throughout the tenure of this pandemic, we have tried to maintain a campus environment that upholds the legacy of our Mercy founders. Our Salve Regina families have been equal partners in working through these times. As you joyously recognize this special occasion, we ask that you please be considerate to those volunteering. Many have taken time away from their own families to ensure that you and yours are able to celebrate safely together.

We look forward to learning about your accomplishments for years to come.