WBU Cancels Grad Ceremony, Closes Athletic Events

PLAINVIEW - Wayland Baptist University administrators made the decision on Tuesday to close all remaining campus events to the public through December, including athletics, and cancel the graduation ceremony scheduled for Dec. 12. The decision was made in an effort to maintain the health safety standards that Wayland has had in place this semester in order to combat the spread of COVID-19.

"This was another one of those unprecedented decisions that we have faced this year," said Wayland Baptist University President Dr. Bobby Hall. "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's COVID-19 numbers have remained low throughout the semester as the university continues to follow safety guidelines, including cleaning and disinfecting classrooms and common areas, requiring face masks in all buildings and maintaining social distancing. Hall said the decision was not a result of an increase in COVID cases, but was made out of concern for maintaining a safe, healthy environment.

Wayland leadership met last week to discuss the feasibility of holding a graduation ceremony in December. As plans and safety concerns were discussed it became increasingly apparent that proper safety protocols could not be followed for the number of people who would be expected on campus.

Graduates will still be recognized for their accomplishments. In May, graduates received a special box containing their cap, gown and other information and paraphernalia. Dr. Hall said the university will do something similar for the December graduates, and they are welcome to take part in a future graduation ceremony if they wish.

"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 will also close the remainder of the year's athletic events to the public. All university athletic events will continue to be played as scheduled through December, but without spectators. Wayland has only one home 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.