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UT Chancellor in quarantine as graduation begins

Commencement ceremonies are scheduled Thursday through Sunday, which will include spring, summer and fall graduates.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — UPDATE Nov. 19: Graduation started Thursday afternoon and lasts through the weekend.

University of Tennessee officials said about 1,100 people will be at each ceremony.

Leaders have made several changes to spread people out and limit contact.

Chancellor Plowman will not be at graduation.

In a release, UT said she discovered on Thursday she was in close contact with someone who tested positive but does not have any symptoms.

She plans to quarantine for 14 days.

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Getting to walk across the stage to get a diploma is a big moment for University of Tennessee students. 

Commencement ceremonies are scheduled Thursday through Sunday, which will include spring, summer and fall graduates.

Graduation is a college tradition for generations. Donning a cap and gown, receiving a diploma and beginning a new chapter.

UT has graduated thousands of students, but 2020 changed that plan.

Now this year's grads will finally get their chance. 

The university will hold ten ceremonies over four days, which includes 1,220 undergraduate degrees, 583 graduate degrees and three law degrees. 

Each ceremony will have 200 graduates with a limited number guests that will be spaced out. 

Masks are required and there won't be any handshakes or hoodings. 

For some spring graduates like Kristina Bone, this will be their first time back on campus. "I went home thinking I was going to be home for a few weeks," she said.

Bone graduated in May, but when things went virtual she never got to come back. "I guess in a way it's surreal, I think it's more surreal it didn't happen and now it is than it is happening now."

She's extremely grateful for the opportunity. "I'm excited for my parents really. This is something they've been investing in and looking forward to."

Senior Mac Morey feels the same. "It wouldn't feel 100% right without getting to walk across and hear my family be like woo," Morey said. 

Yes, these ceremonies will be different. 

But the Rocky Top spirit will still be there. 

"It's an ending but beginning to everything you worked for in life," said Morey. 

UT notes on their website that ceremonies are subject to cancellation.