Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announces plan to permit in-person graduations

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam on Wednesday announced that schools at every level will be able to hold in-person graduations this spring – with certain guidelines in place.

Under the new guidance, graduation events for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as universities will be permitted to hold graduation ceremonies.

READ MORE: Several school districts in DC region considering in-person graduation ceremonies this year

The governor says the initial plans will be reviewed by state officials, and then presented in final form in an April 1 update.

Last year, many schools had to settle for virtual graduation events as the novel coronavirus ripped through the region.

READ MORE: Families of high school seniors around the DC region wonder if prom and graduation will take place in-person 

The new guidelines are:

• Outdoor graduation events will be capped at 5,000 people or 30 percent of the venue capacity, whichever is less

• Graduation events held indoors may have up to 500 people, or 30 percent of the venue capacity, whichever is less

• Attendees must wear masks and follow other guidelines and safety protocols to ensure proper distancing

The governor noted that additional preliminary guidelines can be found here.

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At the height of the pandemic, many schools in the Commonwealth were shut down in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

In January, the governor announced new guidance saying that schools should reopen.

Most Northern Virginia districts are now employing a hybrid model.