Omicron forces UFS to switch back to virtual graduations

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UFS to host graduation online again this year. PHOTO: SONIA SMALL (Kaleidoscope Studios)

Even though the planning to host face-to-face graduation ceremonies at the University of the Free State (UFS) is at an advanced stage, after careful consideration, all graduation ceremonies scheduled from 8 to 13 December will now take place virtually.

This after the executive management was compelled to assess and rethink its plans for the 2021 December graduation ceremonies when the new Omicron variant was discovered and the recent increase in Covid-19 infection rates in South Africa started showing.

UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Francis Petersen, said the executive management of the University of the Free State (UFS) has decided to adjust all the ceremonies to virtual broadcasts.

“The university was compelled to assess and rethink this approach in light of the high infection rates. We share your disappointment at not having a face-to-face ceremony – however, it is extremely important that we do what is in the best interest of our students, staff, families, and citizens of this country.”

According to Prof. Petersen, the university community recognises the importance of celebrating students’ achievements in a fitting way. “Therefore, our aim is to plan a physical event in 2022 for all our students who were unable to graduate on campus. This intended celebratory event is largely dependent on the easing of social distancing regulations, when large gatherings are possible again.

“We are proud of what our Class of 2021 has achieved. Congratulations to all our graduates; I wish you continued success in all your endeavours!”

The graduation ceremonies will be broadcast as follows:

Faculty of Education, South Campus: Wednesday, 8 December 2021 at 09:00

Faculty of Education, South Campus: Wednesday, 8 December 2021 at 11:00

Faculty of Education, Bloemfontein Campus and Qwaqwa Campus: Thursday, 9 December 2021 at 09:00

Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences: Thursday, 9 December 2021 at 11:00

Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences: Friday, 10 December 2021 at 09:00

Faculty of the Humanities: Friday, 10 December 2021 at 11:00

Faculties of Health Sciences, Law, and Theology and Religion: Monday, 13 December 2021 at 09:00

Compiled by Sazly Hartzenberg

sazly@mahareng.co.za