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Northam announces capacity limits for in-person high school, college graduations in 2021

As the pace of vaccinations increase and COVID-19 metrics trend in the right direction, Governor Northam believes it's possible to hold outdoor ceremonies.

RICHMOND, Va. — The governor's office released some early guidance on Wednesday for in-person high school and college graduations this year.

The COVID-10 pandemic spoiled much of the 2020 graduation season for high school and graduates last year. Some schools tried holding alternative, virtual events, but they couldn't quite replicate the usual commencement to celebrate the milestone.

As the pace of vaccinations ramp up and statewide COVID-19 health metrics trend in positive directions, Governor Northam believes it's possible to hold in-person graduations with some health and safety precautions.

K-12 schools and universities can hold outdoor events capped at 5,000 people or 30% of the venue's capacity, whichever is fewer.

So far, about 50,000 COVID-19 shots are being administered in Virginia every day and the state is on track to get all interested adults vaccinated by May. K-12 schools and universities can hold outdoor events capped at 5,000 people or 30% of the venue's capacity, whichever is fewer.

School divisions across the state have been called on to start some in-person classroom instruction this month, while still offering virtual learning for students who want it. 

State leaders plan to release an update next month to the governor's executive order that mandated certain statewide coronavirus restrictions. That update will include this guidance.

Read the preliminary guidance below: