By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) – Citing COVID-19 rules, Boston College is not allowing any guests at commencement this year. The decision is not sitting well with students and their parents.

“It’s definitely different than how I envisioned it,” said senior Mikayla Valdes. “I’ve actually had coronavirus twice, so it’s been a difficult year for sure.”

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Now as she’s getting ready to wrap up a major chapter in her life – graduating from college – she’s finding it hard to imagine her family not being there to experience it with her.

“It’s such a joyous occasion. I always really pictured a big crowd at Alumni Stadium with my parents and siblings there. Now knowing that’s not going to be the case, it’s a little challenging to comprehend,” Valdes said.

Ahead of the May 24 commencement, the school said no parents would be allowed to attend, instead – the ceremony will be streamed. COVID restrictions limit capacity inside Alumni Stadium at 12%.

The school issued a statement that reads in part, “Boston College can accommodate less than 5,000 individuals in Alumni Stadium, with 4,500 of that total reserved for students who are eligible to receive their degrees.”

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The remaining capacity is limited to administrators and other faculty.

“I just feel like they could have exhausted other options before coming to that conclusion,” said Melina Donnelly, from Minnesota. Her family booked a hotel a year in advance.

“I was hoping to have my grandpa and my parents and my siblings in the stadium with me, and I wish it could happen. I guess we’re just going to have to find a new way to celebrate,” she said.

Parents like Kenny Arrigo are also disappointed with the virtual option. “Not being able to be there, shake his hand, give him a hug tell him face-to-face we’re proud of him,” Arrigo said.

For four years, he has looked forward to watching his son Cameron walk across that stage. Now he’ll have to settle for seeing it on a screen. “It’s just not the same as being right there on the field to experience with him and his friends,” Arrigo said.

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There’s now a push for the school to find a way to make it work by using multiple sites, or splitting the ceremony into smaller groups over a few days. There is no word yet if that could happen, with graduation in just over a month.

CBSBoston.com Staff