COVID-19 safety measures for Commemoration Day 2021

There are a number of COVID-19 safety measures that will be place for Commemoration Day 2021. Safety for graduates and staff is of utmost importance, and these recognise the different personal circumstances and levels of comfort that exist across our community even though restrictions have now been lifted. Cases of COVID-19 are still prevalent in the UK, and although the pandemic appears to be largely under control at present, we are also mindful that the circumstances could rapidly change. The measures in place are designed to give the best possible chance of Graduation going ahead.

This approach has been developed with the Graduation Advisory Committee, which includes representation from students and academic staff. We have also undertaken extensive consultation with the Safety Department at the College and Westminster City Council to ensure that an event of this scale and complexity can be delivered safely during a period of uncertainty.

Guidance for international students arriving from outside the UK

If you are travelling from outside the UK please ensure that you check any travel restrictions - further guidance can be found here.

The major COVID-19 measures that will be in place are:

1. Distancing

There will be over 3,000 people coming onto campus for Graduation, alongside the rest of the College community. Given the high volumes of people, we will operate with distancing in queues and for seating in the Royal Albert Hall and on campus. Graduates will still be seated in their cohorts but with an additional seat between each graduate.

Graduates are asked to allow up to 2 hours ahead of their ceremony to register, collect their tickets and gowns, and be seated in the Royal Albert Hall.

2. Graduate-only ceremony

Allowing distancing of graduates in the Royal Albert Hall means that we do not have sufficient space to seat guests in the Hall as well. We had planned to open up booking for guests if graduate uptake was reduced, however 91% of graduates have registered to attend and so it is unfortunately not possible to do so with distancing measures in place. We know that this will be disappointing after so many years of support from your friends and family. The ceremonies will be live streamed on the Graduation web pages so that they can support you wherever they are in the world.


3. COVID-19 testing

All graduates and staff participating in the day will be required to provide evidence of negative COVID-19 test results to be allowed to participate in the ceremony. A negative COVID-19 test must be taken 72 hours prior to and on then again on the day itself. You will need to take your tests before arriving on campus.

Prior to admittance for registration, you will be asked to show the results of your UK COVID-19 tests/immunity status (as defined below) through the NHS app or via your email or text messages.

Option A – Proof of Negative Test

  • Proof of a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or lateral flow device test (LFD) administered no more than 72 hours in advance of Commemoration Day Graduation 2021. This test must have been administered on Sunday 17 October 2021.


  • Proof of a negative COVID-19 lateral flow device test (LFD) administered on the day, prior to commencement of Commemoration Day 2021.


Option B – Proof of Natural Immunity

UK based individuals over the age of 18 years who have tested positive in the last 90 days* and completed any necessary isolation period will be required to provide proof of the test result and associated natural immunity via their NHS app.

*Any individual who tested positive over 90 days ago is required to follow Option A.

For students who have had their test overseas, please bring along the relevant paper/electronic certificates of your test results.  Results must be clearly evidenced in English, Spanish or French.  

Please ensure that you have reported the results of your LFD test results (if carried out in the UK) on the Government/NHS website at: OR on the NHS app. If you have not downloaded the app you can find further details of how to do this here:

Lateral flow tests can be ordered online from or you can collect them from many pharmacies and COVID-19 collection points. Find your closest collection point here:

Any student who is unable to provide the correct proof or documentation will not be granted admittance to their Commemoration Day 2021 ceremony. 

4. Face coverings

The College community are still expected to wear face coverings on campus when moving around indoors, unless you are exempt. Face coverings will also be expected within the Royal Albert Hall when moving around but will not be required when seated/during the ceremony. Graduates will be permitted to remove their face coverings when walking across the Royal Albert Hall stage when their name is called.

5. Minimising contact at gown collection

Gown collection is usually a high contact activity, with dressers supporting graduates to put on their gowns and adjust them. For Commemoration Day 2021, graduates are encouraged to order their gowns for home delivery, but on the day collection will still be possible. We will provide dressing rooms with mirrors and a video to demonstrate how to adjust your gown.

Note: The College’s academic dress does not include a mortar board. Click here for further details of the College’s academic dress.