COMMENCEMENT 2020 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Colleges are proud to host Commencement 2020 in person. In order to comply with State and local guidelines regarding COVID-19 and to protect the health and well-being of all members of the Hobart and William Smith community, we have a number of protocols in place to which we must adhere. Below are frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions or concerns, please reach out to Director of Student Activities Kristen Tobey at firstname.lastname@example.org or Director of Parent Programs Jennifer Murray at email@example.com. Questions can also be answered via phone by calling (315) 781-3700.
How many guests are allowed on campus for Commencement?
Each graduate may invite four guests to be on campus for Commencement. To comply with strict guidelines, there are no exceptions to this rule. Each guest must be registered in advance and will be required to check-in on campus when they arrive in Geneva.
How do I register guests for Commencement?
Graduates with questions may reach out to Jennifer Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the deadline to register guests?
What COVID-19 precautions do guests need to take?
All guests for Commencement weekend will be required to take the following necessary precautions to help HWS maintain a healthy community. Before arrival on campus, each guest will need to upload one of the following (we will send instructions on uploading documents closer to Commencement and after guests are registered):
- a negative COVID-19 PCR test completed, at most, 72 hours prior to arrival
- or a record of full vaccination (guest must have received the final vaccination dose at least 14 days prior to arrival to campus)
- or a record of a positive COVID-19 test from within 90 days, with the guest out of isolation and no longer experiencing symptoms.
If a guest is not vaccinated, has not had a positive COVID-19 diagnosis within 90 days or was unable to receive a COVID-19 test prior to arrival, HWS will offer rapid COVID-19 testing at the Barn from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 4, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 5. We will offer limited testing on Sunday, June 6 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Testing at the Barn will be via car but we can accommodate walk-ups.
Results from rapid-testing are available within 15 minutes of sample collection. Upon review of the documentation or negative COVID-19 tests, guests will receive a wristband and lanyard/nametag pass at the check-in, clearing them to be on-campus to participate in Commencement activities. Guests must visibly display/wear the wristband and lanyard/nametag pass for the duration of the visit to campus
What happens if a person receives a positive COVID-19 test during rapid testing?
That person, anyone in their car or accompanying them, and anyone with whom they have been in contact (including any graduates) will be asked to immediately quarantine and will not be able to participate in Commencement. We therefore strongly urge those who must use the rapid testing option to – immediately upon arrival to Geneva – go directly to the Barn for testing.
Will the Colleges offer a quarantine location for guests?
How do guests provide confirmation of vaccine or negative testing?
Each registered guest and graduate will receive an email with directions to submit their information. Or visit here to directly access form.
How do guests who have already submitted the proper COVID-19 documentation receive their lanyard/nametag pass and wristband for access to Commencement?
Guests who do not need a rapid test can go to the Check-In located at the Odell’s South Parking Lot. Check-In will happen from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 4; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 5; and 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 6.
Should guests get the PCR test before coming to campus or do the rapid testing on campus?
We recommend guests get the testing done before coming to campus so that you can go through our Express Check-In.
How will guests be identified on campus?
All guests will be required to wear a special lanyard/nametag pass as well as a wristband. These two items are required to access Commencement.
How will guests gain access to the Commencement ceremony?
Guests will be required to wear their lanyard/nametag and wristband on campus with no exceptions. These items will allow them entry to the ceremony itself.
Can a student bring four registered guests to Baccalaureate and four different guests to Commencement?
No, each student may only have four registered guests for Commencement weekend.
What happens if there is bad weather the day of the Commencement?
The ceremony will happen rain, snow or shine. We strongly encourage all participants to watch the weather forecast and dress accordingly – including bringing an umbrella if the forecast calls for showers and dressing warmly. Since we will be outdoors on grass surfaces, please wear appropriate footwear for the weather and conditions. In the event of storms with lightning, the ceremony would end and graduates will be directed to pick up diplomas in an assigned location.
What time can guests arrive on campus?
We will be hosting graduate and guest check-in the following times: Friday 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday 8 – 9 a.m. On Commencement morning, we will begin allowing guests to access Commencement seating starting at 8 a.m.
Do graduates need to bring their diplomas with them to campus?
No, we will provide a stand-in document for the ceremony.
Is there campus housing available for graduates and guests?
Campus housing is available for graduates from the Classes of 2020 on Friday, June 4 and Saturday, June 5. Graduate housing is available at no cost to the graduate. Rooms are four-person or six-person suites in Odell’s and Emerson. Details are in the registration form.
Unfortunately we are unable to provide campus housing for guests. Local hotels and lodging can be found on our website.
How do graduates who are registered for housing on campus check in?
Graduates who are registered for housing on campus can pick up their keys at the Check-In in Odell’s South parking lot from Friday 2 – 8 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
What Happens at Check-in?
Every graduate and guest must go through check-in. Graduates will get their name tags, wristbands, masks, a weekend schedule and a key (if registered for on-campus housing). Guests will receive name tags, wristbands and masks. Masks are necessary for the weekend events on campus. Check-in hours: Friday 2 – 8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday 8 – 9 a.m. Location: Odell’s South parking lot off of St. Clair Street. Check-in is a drive through but walk-ins will be accommodated.
My family is not able to be here for Commencement. Can I give my four guest passes to my friend?
Unfortunately, you cannot.
My extended family planned to come for the Commencement weekend. Will they be allowed to come for the ceremony?
Each graduate is allowed four guests only with no exceptions. Others members of the family can watch the ceremony via our livestream from a computer, i-Pad, smart phone or smart TV.
Are dogs allowed on campus?
Yes as long as they are on a leash at all times.
How do we access the livestream?
There is a link on the HWS website to view the livestream.
Can we take photos of our graduate receiving their diploma?
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, we cannot allow guests in the area where diplomas will be presented. A third-party professional photographer will capture each graduate, and graduates will be emailed a link to order photos.
In addition, the Colleges’ photographer will be at the ceremony to take photos and he will post those quickly on the Colleges’ website and social media. All HWS photos are free for download and printing.
Where will handicapped parking be located?
In the Medbery Lot. Campus Safety will be there to direct guests.
Will there be any dining options on campus over the weekend?
There are two meals for graduates:
- Saturday, June 5: Brunch in Scandling Student Center from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
- Saturday, June 5: Celebratory Dinner and Toast in Saga at 6:00 p.m.
Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, there are no meals offered for guests on campus this year.
Do graduates need to bring their cap and gown?
Yes, graduates need to bring their cap and gown to the ceremony.
Is it too late to order a cap and gown?
Please contact the College Bookstore at 315-781-3449 to make arrangements.
My graduate did not receive the registration email.
Registration emails were sent to the HWS email address and graduates are encouraged to check there for the link. For problems, please contact Director of Student Activities Kristen Tobey at email@example.com or Director of Parent Programs Jennifer Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions can also be answered via phone by calling (315) 781-3700.
What time is Baccalaureate?
Baccalaureate will happen on Saturday, June 5 at 1:00 pm. on the Quad.
What Happens if There is Bad Weather When Baccalaureate is Scheduled to Occur?
Baccalaureate will happen on the Quad whether there is rain, snow or shine. We strongly encourage all participants to watch the weather forecast and dress accordingly – including bringing an umbrella if the forecast calls for showers and dressing warmly. Since we will be outdoors on grass surfaces, please wear appropriate footwear for the weather and conditions. In the event of storms with lightning, an announcement will be made with information about evacuating the Quad and the conclusion of the service.
Can guests attend Shabbat?
Yes, guests registered for Shabbat can attend. That registration is included on the overall registration form that was sent to graduates.