Wayland closes events to the public, cancels graduation

(Wayland Baptist University Photo)

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PLAINVIEW—Pointing to the difficulties in maintaining COVID-19 safety protocols, Wayland Baptist University announced Oct. 6 it will close all campus events to the public through December and cancel its graduation ceremony this semester.

“This was another one of those unprecedented decisions that we have faced this year,” President Bobby Hall said. “The health of our students has been our top priority.

“We have held a few events on campus that were open to the public, but through those events, we realized how difficult it is to maintain proper safety protocols.”

Wayland Baptist University student Eliana Vaughn dons a face mask while on campus. Wearing a face mask is one of the requirements Wayland placed on students, faculty and staff for a return to campus for the fall semester. (Wayland Baptist University Photo)

Hall emphasized the decision was not a result of an increase in COVID-19 cases but was made out of concern for maintaining a safe and healthy environment.

Wayland’s COVID-19 numbers have remained low throughout the semester as the university continues to follow safety guidelines, university officials reported. Protocols include cleaning and disinfecting classrooms and common areas, requiring face masks in all buildings and maintaining social distancing.

December ceremony cancelled due to anticipated crowd

Wayland leaders met last week to discuss the feasibility of holding a graduation ceremony in December. As they discussed plans and safety concerns, university officials said it became increasingly apparent proper safety protocols could not be followed with the number of people who would be expected on campus.

Wayland Baptist University administrators cancelled the December 2020 graduation ceremony out of concern for health and safety. (WBU Photo)

In May, graduates received a box containing their cap, gown and other information and paraphernalia. Hall said the university will do something similar for the December graduates, and they will be invited to take part in a future graduation ceremony.

“Graduation is such a special time, and we wish we could celebrate together,” Hall said. “We are proud of each and every one of our graduates and will celebrate with them in spirit, though not in person.”

Wayland also will close athletic events to the public. All university athletic events will continue to be played as scheduled through December but without spectators.

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Wayland has only one football game scheduled for the fall semester on Oct. 31. Basketball season is scheduled to start in November with the first home games on Nov. 14. Games will be streamed live on www.wbuathletics.com.

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