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Health and Safety Protocols

Commencement Health and Safety Protocols 

  • Commencement will be held outdoors at Fitton Field, the College’s open-air football stadium on May 21. We expect 700 graduates on the field, and no more than 1,600 guests, faculty, and staff in the stands. The stadium’s capacity is normally 23,500. 
  • The event is ticketed and graduates are strictly limited to two guests. Tickets will be digital and contactless and will be checked at the entrance to the event.
  • In accordance with guidance from the Commonwealth, there will be no live music.

Universal Requirements

  • There will be no food or drinks served during the event. Bottled water will be provided to guests and graduates to ensure proper hydration for an outdoor event with variable weather conditions. 
  • Face coverings must be worn by all in attendance, at all times in accordance with our universal mask policy, with the exception of event speakers, who may remove their mask to speak, and will be adequately spaced at least 10 feet from all other attendees while speaking.
  • Entrance to and exit from the event will be staggered in accordance with the entry and exit plan.
  • Anyone attending commencement must notify the College’s Isolation and Quarantine Coordinators immediately by email (iqcoordinator@holycross.edu) if they test positive for COVID-19 within three days of Commencement. The College will work with the Worcester Department of Health to respond and assist with contact tracing.
  • In accordance with guidance from the Commonwealth, there will be no communal gathering or reception before or after Commencement. Attendees are expected to leave the campus at the conclusion of Commencement.

Entry and Exit Plans

  • Graduates will arrive and depart through the adjoining baseball stadium using two designated entrances. Upon arrival, graduates will be screened by staff to ensure they are clear per Holy Cross testing policies. Graduates will be lined up prior to processing from the baseball field to the football field and seated in their assigned seats. Graduate seating is designated at three feet per student on the football stadium.  
  • Guests will enter the stadium at three designated entrances in accordance with their designated seating sections (Sections 1-14). Guests will be directed to arrive starting at 8:30 a.m. Upon arrival, guests must present their electronic ticket. The seating in the stadium will be designated by section and socially distant. 
  • At the completion of the ceremony, graduates will be directed to exit through the baseball stadium in an orderly, distanced manner. Guests will be directed to exit the stadium by sections and from the gates they arrived at. This will ensure a staggered and orderly exit from the stadium.
  • There will be no receptions after commencement. Graduates and their guests will be advised to meet at designated locations close to parking areas to assist in a smooth departure from the campus. 

Shuttling Plan

  • Limited shuttle service will be operating before, during and after the event.
  • Shuttle seating is very limited due to physical distancing requirements.
  • Occupants are required to maintain 6 feet of distance between families. 
  • Surfaces of the shuttles will be disinfected after each circuit.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers will be provided at shuttle stops.

Health and Safety Standards

Signage & General Measures

  • Signage will be posted throughout the venue to remind everyone about health and safety standards.
  • Directional pathways will be established, and queuing areas will have markers indicating 6 feet of physical distancing.
  • Electronic programs will be accessible via a QR code printed on seats and signage throughout the venue.

Hygiene and Disinfection Standards

  • Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the venue, as well as at the entrances, exits, and near restrooms.
  • Environmental services staff will be on-site disinfecting high-touch surfaces throughout the event.
  • Restrooms occupancy will be limited in accordance with square footage and will be disinfected at regular times according to CDC disinfecting standards.
  • Shared podiums and microphones will be disinfected in between use.
  • Environmental services staff will maintain logs of bathroom disinfection, and zone cleaning intervals and assignments.

Attendee Requirements

Graduate Requirements

  • Graduates will swipe their ID cards to confirm their HC Clear status:
    • They have done their daily symptom screening in HC Clear and are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19;
    • They have not had “close contact” with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 without having completed the required quarantine period. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
    • They will be in compliance with the College’s COVID-19 surveillance testing protocol.
  • All graduates must be HC Clear and have tested on one of the mandatory testing days the week of the event, unless they are COVID recovered and in their 90-day window.
  • Graduates will be seated on the field and spaced three feet apart.

Guest Requirements

  • Guests will be seated in designated areas in the stands.
  • Guests will be assigned a section. Seating will be first-come, first-served in the assigned section. Seating in the section will be marked in physically distanced spaces. Guests must remain on marked seating spots.
  • Masks must be worn at all times in accordance with our universal mask policy.
  • Guests must complete a symptom screening in the event app (Full Measure) and confirm in the app that they have not had “close contact” with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 without having completed the required quarantine period. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Guests who are not part of the same household/group must be seated at least 6 feet apart from other guests.
  • Guests who are members of the same household/group are permitted to sit together and less than 6 feet apart.

Vendor and Media Requirements

  • Masks must be worn at all times in accordance with our universal mask policy.
  • Vendors and media must practice physical distancing of 6 feet or more from all attendees, and 10 feet or more from any unmasked attendees.
  • Vendors and media must stay in their designated areas.
  • Vendors and media must not attend if:
    • They are experiencing any symptoms such as fever (100.0° and above) or chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fatigue, headache, muscle/body aches, runny nose/congestion, new loss of taste or smell, or nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
    • They have had “close contact” with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 and have not completed the required quarantine period. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
    • They are currently required to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official.

Faculty and Staff Requirements

  • Faculty and staff will need to have done the following:
    • Completed their daily symptom screening in HC Clear and are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19;
    • Confirmed that they have not had “close contact” with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 without having completed the required quarantine period. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • All faculty and staff will maintain physical distancing while working, and in designated seating areas.
  • Staff will have a negative PCR test the week of the event. Faculty may test the week of the event, but it's not required. 
  • All participants on the stage will be seated or standing at least 6 feet apart. 

Commencement Event Program

There will be an electronic PDF program for the ceremony. There will be no paper programs distributed. 

Stage Procedures

  • The commencement stage is 48’x20’, 960 sq feet. No more than 10 college officials will be on the stage at one time.  Officials will be seated to ensure a minimum of 6-foot distance.
  • Degrees will be placed upon a table for graduates to retrieve as they cross the stage.
  • Graduates will maintain 6-foot distance at all times while approaching and departing the stage. 
  • Graduates will return to field seats after receiving their degrees.
  • Microphones will be sanitized between speakers. 

Post-Commencement Activities

Families must leave campus after commencement. As with move-in, students living in residence halls may have one guest at a time inside the residence hall to assist them in moving out.