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Postponement of Graduation ceremonies to 2021

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Following our previous decision to postpone our July 2020 Graduation ceremonies, we have been working to develop plans for an increased number of ceremonies in December. Since that decision was taken, it has become clear that social distancing requirements will still be in place until the end of the year. So after careful consideration, we have taken the incredibly difficult decision to postpone the December events to next July 2021.

Informed by the UK government's roadmap to recovery, our Graduation and Events teams have done a huge amount of work to consider how we could facilitate socially distanced ceremonies, including consulting with a number of other universities. We, like many other institutions, have reluctantly concluded that going ahead with these events in December could only be done with significant compromises to the experience of our graduates. It would be necessary to restrict numbers, which would mean guests would not be permitted. Ultimately, we do not believe such an event would give our students the opportunity to celebrate their achievements as they deserve with friends and family.

This decision has not been taken lightly. As many of our graduates and their guests will need to book travel and accommodation well in advance, we felt we needed to make an early decision to allow as much notice as possible. While coronavirus restrictions are being eased, the government's chief medical adviser indicated last month that some level of social distancing will be required until the end of the year. It is also possible that a second ‘peak' of the virus nationally or locally may result in stricter measures returning at short notice.

We will invite all students expecting to graduate this July or December to attend a ceremony in July 2021. We will also be running a series of virtual celebration events in both July and December 2020, to give our finalists the opportunity to pause and reflect on everything they have achieved. The Graduation and Events teams have been in touch with Schools to provide advice about possible options for School/Department virtual events. If you have any queries about this please contact graduation@reading.ac.uk.

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