Latest information on operational modifications for fall 2021 Roadrunner Roadmap

FAQ

How did UTSA make its decision about commencement?

As we planned our Commencement ceremonies, our Public Health Task Force, comprised of researchers and health experts, followed the guidance of federal, state and local health officials in projecting the impact of the pandemic and potential scenarios by May. Throughout our planning, our goal has been to keep our graduates and their guests safe.

UTSA will honor more than 15,000 graduates, which includes our Spring 2021, Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 graduating classes. This is more than double the number of all graduating seniors in the largest school district in San Antonio.

Since so many of our students already have jobs and/or must travel to San Antonio to celebrate at Commencement, we host ceremonies on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. By contrast, local school districts have greater flexibility in holding weekday ceremonies.

Given the number of UTSA graduates, holding multiple ceremonies allows us to celebrate their success while maintaining proper social distancing. Using several on-campus facilities including the Convocation Center, the Campus Recreation Center, the Student Union Ballroom and the Student Union Retama Auditorium, along with limiting attendance, are our best option.

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Will the ceremonies be the same as previous commencements, with a stage party, ceremonial elements and speeches?

These ceremonies will retain some of the most important traditional elements but will have some differences. They will be college-based to promote health and safety. There will be remarks from the Dean and conferral of the degrees. Every graduate will have their name called as they cross the stage. Additionally, each graduate will have their photo taken to commemorate the event.

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Will there be a hooding ceremony for doctoral graduates?

Yes, there will be a hooding ceremony—a symbol of the culmination of a student’s graduate studies—during the doctoral ceremonies on May 14 and May 21. Details will be forthcoming.

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Who participates in the doctoral ceremony?

The doctoral ceremony is for students receiving a doctorate in their individual discipline. Only students who will receive their doctorate will participate in the doctoral ceremony. Master’s degree students will participate with their individual colleges.

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I have a large family. What about the rest of my family?

There is not enough space to safely accommodate more than two guests per graduate. We will offer a livestream of the event as well as on-demand viewing so people can hold family watch parties and safely host gatherings.

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Can UTSA allow additional guests who have been fully vaccinated to attend the in-person ceremonies?

Space limitations are the primary reason we must limit the number of guests that attend the ceremonies.

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Can I 'walk' in a later ceremony when more guests are allowed at commencement?

Yes. Every graduate has the option to participate in a future ceremony. Contact commencement@utsa.edu for more information.

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Will you be pre-screening graduates, guests and staff for COVID with temperature checks, etc.?

Graduates and guests will participate in a brief question-based COVID screening that does not include temperature checks. Additionally, wearing masks is encouraged for the commencement ceremonies.

Any graduate who feels sick or has COVID-19 symptoms should stay home.

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I’m a 2020 graduate who returned my regalia. Do I need to purchase it again?

To participate in in-person ceremonies, you will need your regalia (cap and gown).

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Why am I required to incur the expense of wearing regalia if the university is offering scaled-down commencement ceremonies?

Regalia is a traditional part of commencement, equally as symbolic as crossing the stage and hearing your name called and turning your tassel to symbolize your graduation. We want this event to include as many traditional elements as possible, even while we are challenged by COVID-19 restrictions.

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I’m a double major in two separate colleges. Will I be able to attend the ceremonies for both of my colleges?

Yes. Just as honors students may participate in both their academic college and the Honors College ceremonies, you may participate twice, as long as the ceremonies are not scheduled at the same time.

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If I participate in an in-person ceremony, can I still submit a photo and message for the virtual commencement?

Yes. All Class of 2021 graduates can participate in both the in-person ceremony and list their information in the virtual commencement. Class of 2020 graduates were included in the virtual commencement in May 2020 and December 2020.

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I earned my degree in psychology. Which college ceremony should I participate in?

All 2020 graduates will participate in ceremonies of their academic college at the time of degree completion, with the exception of the College of Public Policy which will participate in College for Health, Community and Policy (HCAP) ceremonies.

May 2021 and December 2020 graduates in psychology will participate in HCAP ceremonies. May 2020 graduates in psychology will participate in College of Liberal and Fine Arts (COLFA) ceremonies.

Contact graduationcoordination@utsa.edu if you need more information.

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Will you be taking professional photos of graduates in other cities like you did last semester?

Our professional photographers will be taking official photos at each ceremony. Because of the number of ceremonies scheduled, photos in other cities will not be offered.

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Will there be a way that I can take photos with my family, since I can only have two guests at the Commencement ceremonies?

There is a Commencement-themed stage set up in the H-E-B Student Union Ski Lodge until May 14 for photos. The area is accessible during Student Union business hours, including evenings and weekends. Graduates and their guests are reminded to practice social distancing from other families.

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How will I get the video link for my ceremony?

The livestream link for your ceremony will be located on the front page of the Commencement website. The link will be posted on the day of the ceremony. Each ceremony has a distinct livestream link.

To find the livestream for your ceremony:

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Did UTSA get student input to help plan these in-person ceremonies?

Because of the uncertain nature of having to plan during a pandemic, UTSA relied on its Public Health Task Force, comprised of researchers and health care experts to develop a plan for this year.

During normal times, we regularly assess our commencement ceremonies through student surveys and this ongoing assessment directly informs our event planning.

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How can I purchase regalia? The deadline has passed.

Regalia is still available at the Rowdy Campus Store (Bookstore). Visit the Regalia page for details and store hours.

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Why did the plans change for guests?

Since we first announced plan for our Spring 2021 Commencement celebration last month, significant progress has been made in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. and Texas. Notably, vaccine eligibility has expanded to include all persons 16 and older, the vaccine is more readily available to those individuals who choose to receive it, and the CDC has amended its guidelines regarding social distancing.

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Now that guests can attend, is UTSA planning to hold the ceremony in the Alamodome?

No. We are continuing to plan for our on-campus Commencement ceremonies.

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Why did you wait so late to announce this?

Our Public Health Task Force continues to monitor the pandemic in real time. Evolving guidance has allowed us to make decisions based on current public health outlook.

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Why can I only bring two guests?

There is not enough space to safely accommodate more than two guests per graduate. We will offer a livestream of the event as well as on-demand viewing so people can hold family watch parties and safely host gatherings.

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Is there a minimum age limit required for the two guests I want to bring?

To help us comply with spacing guidelines, there is no minimum age for guests to count toward the audience limitation. Small children and infants are included in the graduate’s guest count.

What COVID protocols will be in place? Answered in another FAQ

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If I bring my children, will they need to wear masks during the ceremony?

All graduates, guest and support staff are encouraged to wear masks during the ceremony, including children.

Updated May 19, 2021:

UTSA will comply with the Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA 36 on mask requirements for this weekend’s Commencement ceremonies. Given the large numbers of attendees and our focus on the health and well-being of our community, we strongly encourage all who are attending to wear masks. Graduates and their guests will be screened upon entry, and all individuals will be offered a mask upon entry. Each graduate will still be allowed two guests; guests will arrive with the graduate and be seated together. The guest seating allotment is based on venue size. Thank you in advance, and we look forward to seeing you at this weekend’s ceremonies as we celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates.

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How will check in work?

The check-in process for graduates is outlined on the Commencement website. [hyperlink] Graduates and guests will check-in together and participate in a brief COVID screening that will not include temperature checks. The graduate will receive a card to present during the ceremony to have their name read.

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Can we bring noisemakers and confetti?

No posters, banners, noisemakers, balloons, confetti, glitter or outside refreshments will be allowed inside the ceremony to maintain appropriate spacing and optimal viewing of the ceremony.

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Who can I contact to share feedback about Commencement?

For any questions or comments regarding Commencement, please contact commencement@utsa.edu.

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