AUSTIN, Texas - Several areas around the country, including Travis County, have banned gatherings of 10 people or more to slow the spread of the Coronavirus.
This decision is forcing colleges to decide what to do for spring commencement ceremonies and leaving students in the class of 2020 fearful they will miss out on the chance to to get their diploma.
The University of Texas at Austin is one of the colleges deciding if it should host graduation online, postpone it, or cancel it altogether.
Recently, the campus has become a ghost town ever since UT decided to shut down and go fully online to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We didn't really get to say goodbye,” said Ana Silverio. Silverio is a senior studying marine biology at UT. She is set to graduate this May.
“It was always a dream. I'm a first gen-student so my parents didn't go to college. I'm also a first gen-American so this is all really new to my family,” said Silverio.
Now with the campus’s new protocol, things are changing. In a tweet, UT officials stated the future of spring commencement is in jeopardy and will be decided on closer to May.
“It was definitely like the wind was knocked out of you when you have to come to the realization that that might be a possibility that you won't be able to celebrate at the end of May,” said Silverio.
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Silverio says she feels as though her dream is disappearing before her eyes.“I’m not a typically emotional person, I don't usually cry, but that definitely did warrant sort of like an emotional breakdown, realizing that four years of hard work might be summed up in an email,” said Silverio.
She took Twitter to voice her concerns and realized she's not the only one feeling this way. In fact, her tweet got almost 2,000 interactions from people who are also upset with the idea of graduation getting canceled this year.
“We understand that this was necessary, and it's just what it is. It has to happen in order to keep everybody safe, but it's also a way that we have to process our own feelings, too,” said Silverio.
She says, either way, graduation or not, her time at UT will not go unnoticed. “Those four years were very hard at UT. They are not joking when you decide to do a stem major and even if, at the end of the day, I may not get that day, I know that I'll still walk out with a Bachelor’s of Science from that school,” said Silverio.
UT is expected to make their final decision in the upcoming weeks.
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