N.U.S. graduation set for 31 March

By Soli Wilson 14 March 2021, 4:00PM

The National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) graduation has been locked in for Wednesday, 31 March, the Vice-Chancellor, Aiono Dr. Alec Ekeroma confirmed.

The graduation ceremony will be held at the N.U.S. gymnasium with a limit of only two support persons per student allowed.

The graduation was originally set for the first day of April, but has since been moved forward by one day to accommodate students who want to travel to Savaii earlier for the Easter holiday. 

“The graduation is now moved to the 31st which is a Wednesday. Normally it’s on the first, but because we’re running to Easter, we thought to let the students catch their boats to Savaii on Thursday for the long Easter weekend,” he said. 

Aiono estimated the number of graduates to be more than 400. 

This will be the first in-person graduation to be hosted by the university after a string of cancellations starting from the measles epidemic in 2019. 

And despite the country still being in a State of Emergency lockdown as a precautionary measure for the global COVID-19 pandemic, Aiono is optimistic about the graduation. 

“I think the last in-person graduation was back in April 2019, as you know we cancelled graduations around measles time and early last year,” he said.

“There were a few graduations banked up so we moved everything to virtual really and managed to do all virtual graduations and caught up with it.

“I am very confident that there is no community transmission of the [coronavirus], the kids have their graduation and I feel that it’s okay to have our graduation physically.”

At the same time, Aiono advised that the university will act accordingly should situations change in relation to the pandemic. 

“Now of course, if there is an announcement of [a] change in levels between now and the date, then we can quickly cancel the physical graduation and move on to virtual graduation,” he said. 

Asked if the university is preparing to take social distancing measures for the physical graduation at the end of the month, Aiono said “it will be very difficult.” 

“As you know, we’ve had enrolment and we’ve had the other events that we’ve had and there’s no social distancing that was possible in those events,” he said.

“We all know really that hand washing and hygiene and social distancing are important as public health measures to reduce any transmission of COVID-19, we know that there is no community transmission at the moment so therefore we can proceed with this graduation.”

Aiono also noted that there are 2700 students enrolled at the N.U.S. - a record high.

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Education
By Soli Wilson 14 March 2021, 4:00PM

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