Sheffield will be reopening its nightclubs in June but has postponed in-person graduation ceremonies to 2022.
University of Sheffield students that will be graduating in 2021 received an email on 21 April from their departments stating that their graduation ceremonies would be held virtually, in July due to Covid-19 risks.
Sophia Hobbs, 20, a third-year journalism student, said: “Honestly I think we’re all extremely disappointed and upset, people I’ve spoken to are.
“I completely understand that we are in a pandemic and no one really knows what’s happening, but after the year we’ve had as students and not having a full university experience, I think it was just nice to think at least we’ll have a big send-off. So yeah, really disappointing!
“This year more than ever I think we all needed it too.”
Ms Hobbs said that whilst it was a good feeling to know she had survived three years of her degree she would have liked to have said a proper goodbye to her University.
She added: “I remember coming here for my induction and all I could think about when we were sat in the octagon was imagining how it would be to graduate. So it’s sad that’s going to be delayed for another year!
“An online ceremony isn’t even slightly the same and that’s why it’s so frustrating.”
“We don’t get to be with our friends, take photos in the gowns, throw our hats in the air and I feel that for me is when you feel like you’ve completed university.”
24-year-old Ran Duan, an MA Architecture student at the University of Sheffield, said: “It’s such a pity, but at the same time it’s safer for all of us because if graduation happens [in person] there will be people everywhere.
“If it happens online my parents don’t need to come for my graduation overseas since it’s a bit risky for them to do so. But anyway, I do wish I could wear the gown and take photographs on campus.”
While the students are disappointed about their virtual graduations they expected the outcome.
The University of Sheffield has sympathized with the Batch of 2021 and said that due to the amount of planning required and the number of people travelling from outside Sheffield, organizing a physical graduation would require many months of planning and they had to take a decision quickly.