• Megan Wallace

Graduation: To mask or not to mask

For the first time in two years, graduates are not required to wear masks during commencement ceremonies after the Coastal Carolina University Board of Trustees announced the mask mandate will be lifted after final exams are completed Monday, Dec. 13.


Graduation for both the Wall College of Business and Edwards College of Humanities will begin at 2 p.m. on Dec. 14. Another ceremony in the evening will be for the Gupta College of Science and Spadoni College of Education and Social Sciences.


Casey Roach, events program coordinator, said face coverings must still be worn on public transportation to the ceremony but not inside HTC. Roach said students and their families have the option of wearing a mask.


Senior Jensen Smith said she's excited to see the light at the end of this long pandemic tunnel. However, Smith said she was concerned by the university’s choice to remove the mandate the day before two commencement ceremonies.


“I think that the choice to do it a day before a graduation ceremony, two graduation ceremonies in an enclosed building where everyone's family from out of town is gonna be here to celebrate, I think that is asking for issues,” Smith said.


Senior Gabrielle Ivanov said she has other worries regarding masks at graduation.


“It's gonna be awkward because my face gets really red when I'm in those situations, so it was nice because the mask hid it, and I was able to geek without anyone knowing,” Ivanov said.


Both Smith and Ivanov are first-generation college students and they said this ceremony is a big deal to both of their families.


“The majority of my family members that are coming to graduation are immunocompromised, and that’s part of the reason I urged them to wear a mask,” said Smith, “It's a little upsetting that one of the biggest days of my whole life and my whole educational career is being put at risk because of an oversight in scheduling.”


This will be the first indoor maskless graduation since December 2019. For the last two years, all commencement ceremonies have required masks and been outside on the turf while still maintaining social distance.