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The University of Maine System held in-person commencement exercises on Saturday, marking a return to normalcy despite an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

For the past two years, the University of Maine System has held either virtual or hybrid graduations. Last year, for example, students at the flagship University of Maine walked across the stage, but with no audience.

The return to in-person events came against a backdrop of growing COVID-19 infections.

UMS officials reported that the two-week infection count grew from 54 last week to 226 on Tuesday. The spike led to a reinstatement of masking requirements in exam settings.

All told, more than 4,500 students at the seven University of Maine System campuses were receiving degrees, including more than 3,700 undergraduates and more than 800 graduate students.

Commencements were held Saturday at the University of Maine, University of Southern Maine and campuses in Farmington, Presque Isle and Fort Kent.

The University of Maine at Machias held its commencement Friday and UMaine-Augusta will hold its ceremony on May 14. The University of Maine Law School’s commencement is May 21.

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