In a campus-wide email sent on Feb. 10, Delta College announced it will hold a virtual Commencement ceremony for Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 graduates.
The decision was made due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in the region, according to the email.
“We know this probably isn’t what you were hoping to hear,” the email said. “We wish we could gather with you and your family to celebrate your accomplishments in person. But your health and safety come first.”
The announcement comes as a disappointment to many students.
Students in the San Joaquin Delta College public Facebook group responded to a post where the information was reiterated.
“I am not ready for a virtual Commencement ceremony,” student Saira Naz said. “Imagining myself walking on that stage was my encouragement all the time when I was ready to give up.”
Student Lorina Sanchez-Garduño shared similar sentiments.
“I kept imagining myself walking while my husband and daughters cheered me on,” Sanchez-Garduño said. “I wish they would still do one but in shifts, with very small groups over a two-week period at different days and times.”
Delta College alumna Alondra Haole graduated in 2020. She attended the last virtual Commencement ceremony.
“It definitely wasn’t as exciting as I would have hoped,” Haole said. “I felt like my accomplishment was under-celebrated. It was disappointing, but I tell myself that I was able to hold on in a pandemic and everything that came with it, and still graduate with honors.”
Although she was disappointed, Haole said she tried to look at the bigger picture.
“There are far more important things going on and I can sacrifice the ability to walk to help keep people safe and healthy,” Haole said. “That doesn’t mean it didn’t suck to not walk, but I just try to put it into perspective.”
The Delta College post on Instagram informing students of the news was met with one user commenting that it’s “bittersweet.”
Vivienne Aguilar, a 2020 graduate, spent her last few months at Delta College in online classes after the campus closed at the beginning of the pandemic. She opted not to participate in the virtual ceremony.
“I’m waiting till they have walking ceremonies again,” said Aguilar, who transferred to California State University, Monterey Bay. “I was already tired of being on Zoom when it happened. I felt it would make the celebration tedious instead of enjoyable since my grandparents couldn’t attend online.”
Aguilar said she “bought the cap and gown, and got stoles” but stopped there.
“I want the chance to wear them while celebrating,” she said.
The virtual Commencement ceremony is scheduled to be held on Saturday, May 15. Students must apply for graduation by the March 5 deadline.
As more information becomes available, updates can be found at deltacollege.edu/commencement.