Officials at Syracuse University are aiming to host an in-person commencement for graduates this May for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to The Daily Orange, Vice Chancellor Michael Haynie said during a press briefing on Wednesday that the university is still waiting on guidance from New York State as to if and how they could host a large gathering for the spring 2021 commencement.

"What we’re doing right now is setting the conditions for us to be able to have a significant number of guests into that stadium for a commencement in May," Haynie said, according to The Daily Orange. "We have very publicly promised our students a commencement. The university is committed to doing right by those promises."

While the university works on getting approval from the state to host an in-person commencement, there is no guarantee that the ceremony will take place in the Carrier Dome. SU is also considering utilizing some of its outdoor spaces for the event, and according to the senior associate vice president for university communications Sarah Scalese, university officials will announce possible venues for the commencement on April 1.

Last weekend, the university opened the Dome to fans for a men's lacrosse game, and is working on proving it can safely host large events. Fans in attendance had to test negative for COVID twice before entry to the game and sat socially distant from one another.

Haynie shared that SU has started to make preparations for when more students become eligible for the vaccine and if the state allows the university to distribute it. The Daily Orange reports that the university has secured freezers that will be able to store vaccines at negative 80 degrees, and that the university's health staff has been trained to administer the shots.

"We have told the state that we’re ready. Give us the vaccine, and we’ll take care of the SU campus population," Haynie said during the briefing. "We’re in the last hundred yards. If we could keep it together, do what we need to do, there is normalcy to come."

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