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UH Mānoa opens commencement doors for students who graduated during the pandemic

Ashley "'Auli'i" Aikau-Osurman
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa will resume commencement ceremonies this weekend for the first time since 2019.

On Thursday, the university announced it will require attendees to wear masks for the indoor graduations. Students may remove masks for the on-stage photo.

"The recent increase in COVID-19 cases has prompted the change from encouraging masks to requiring them," the school said. "Mask wearing is encouraged during lei giving outdoors."

The Spring 2022 commencement invited all UH Mānoa students whose graduations were canceled due to the pandemic. That includes everyone who graduated between Spring 2020 and 2022.

Over 2,000 students will be attending graduation – including HPR’s own Zoe Dym, who graduated in 2020. Approximately 10% of the attendees graduated in previous semesters.

What is usually a two-day celebration has been stretched out to three days.

"This weekend we are saying masks are recommended but not required. Being that we are gonna be closer together, social distancing is gone, but we do know there’s still some concerns, so just being aware of that," said Lori Furoyama, the educational specialist at UH Mānoa.

"We tried to keep the ceremonies shorter than usual because we didn’t want everybody sitting in there the usual two hours, so we removed a lot of the speeches we usually have. So we are only having student speakers," Furoyaa said.

Last year, the university held a photo session for graduates and their families.

The ceremonies begin Friday, May 13, and end on Sunday. All guests are welcome to the ceremonies on a first-come, first-seated basis. Click here for more information.

UH West Oʻahu already kicked off the in-person commencement season last weekend on May 7.

UH Hilo will hold its commencement on Sunday at 9 a.m. at the Edith Kanakaʻole Multipurpose Stadium.

UH Maui College's commencement is also Sunday at 5 p.m. on the Kahului campus.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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