On February 2, the University of Toronto Office of Convocation announced that the Spring 2021 convocation ceremony for this year’s graduates will be held on June 23, 2021, via a virtual ceremony.
Other post-secondary institutions in the Greater Toronto Area, such as Ryerson University, Humber College, and Sheridan College, have also opted to celebrate their convocation ceremonies virtually, rather than in-person.
Following the World Health Organization declaration of Covid-19 as a global pandemic in March 2020, widespread shutdowns were established in Canada. This forced many businesses to move their services online and conduct their operations virtually.
Universities all across the globe had to adapt to pandemic regulations and began offering courses online via video communication platforms such as Zoom and Google Hangouts. As the number of confirmed cases in Canada continued to increase in May, U of T decided to hold its Spring 2020 convocation ceremony virtually.
This year will be no different due to the persistent danger of the pandemic.
According to the university’s announcement, the Spring 2021 virtual ceremony will be pre-recorded and will not be an interactive graduation celebration.
“If for any reason you’re unable to watch the ceremony on June 23, the link [to the video] will remain available for several weeks afterwards,” reads the Office of Convocation’s website.
Since there will be no interactive element to the graduation ceremony, participants are not required to rent out gowns and other regalia. However, graduates who would like to rent convocation robes to take photographs and celebrate at-home can do so through Gaspard & Sons Ontario.
Additionally, U of T’s Office of Convocation states that once pandemic regulations are lifted, and large gatherings are deemed safe, faculties will coordinate their own graduation ceremonies in-person. As provincial guidelines remain strict for the time being, U of T encourages all graduates to attend the upcoming virtual convocation in June.“The ceremony video will contain many elements of a traditional convocation to make your day memorable, including the Chancellor, President, Chair of Governing Council, a Convocation Speaker, and special congratulations messages,” read the announcement. “We hope that you, along with your family and friends, will gather online to celebrate the Class of 2021—no matter where you might be joining from.”