QUB have announced that virtual graduations will take place this year

RIP Strawberries in the sun

Queen’s University Belfast have announced this weekend by an email to students, that graduations will take place virtually, vis-a-vis a digital medium.

The move comes as the university further acts upon the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed over 365 lives now in Northern Ireland.

Similar actions have been taken by the university, by moving assessments both essays and examinations to online platforms. Concerns from this have however been brought forward to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The National Union of Students in Northern Ireland (NUS-USI) have called for students to be able to retake the academic year for no extra cost, should their grades not reflect their average or ability, due to the pressure which the coronavirus pandemic has placed on students.

The university, which alongside with Ulster University has been closed to students since March in a bid to contain the virus, has joined other universities across the country seeking alternative arrangements for graduation.

In the email, students were told that graduations would ‘not be possible’ due to how many people would be expected to attend and that this would contravene government introduced social distancing measures.

QUB said that an event would take place later in the year, providing an opportunity for students to celebrate with their families at a later date in the year. However, concerns are being raised that if this is the case, why can’t the entire graduation take place at a later date

Speaking to The Belfast Tab, QUB final year Medic, Patrick Lynch who was due to graduate this year said that by the time graduation will be able to take place, it would be unfeasible as the likelihood of being able to have time off from the wards would be ‘unlikely’.

However, graduations from the School of Medicine have already taken place online. Patrick described that he, ‘really appreciated QUB doing everything they could’ and that, ‘it gave us a day to mark the occasion, even if it was from our own homes’.

In a video published to her Twitter account, chancellor Hilary Clinton praised the Queen’s community for their response to the pandemic.

Former US Presidential Candidate, Clinton said that whilst her tenure, albeit brief has been unprecedented thus far, she could not be prouder of how QUB has dealt with the pandemic.