Harvard 2020 class will graduate 'online'

Colleges all over the country have made sudden and drastic adjustments to normal operations.

Most institutions began with moving classes online and extending spring breaks, but now Harvard University has joined a growing list of schools that have postponed or canceled their upcoming graduation ceremonies.

Harvard University will replace its scheduled commencement ceremony with a “virtual” graduation in light of coronavirus concerns.

University President Lawrence S. Bacow announced Friday that the traditional ceremony scheduled for May 28 would be replaced with one where graduates and their families can “come together online” so that degrees can be awarded and “everyone will graduate as expected.”

”Given the advice we are receiving from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, other public health officials, and our own faculty, who are among the world’s leaders in infectious disease, epidemiology, and virology, it is difficult to imagine how we could safely hold such a large gathering this spring,” Bacow wrote. “We recognize that people need to start making plans soon, so we thought it best to provide guidance now.”

[RELATED:  LIST: Nation’s top universities cancel commencement ceremonies amid COVID-19 pandemic]

Students will receive their diplomas through the mail.

Bacow promised students an in-person ceremony “sometime later” once the university can be sure it is safe.

”By then, we will be eager not just to celebrate our graduating students, but also to recognize and acknowledge the sacrifices that so many have made to ensure the well-being of our community,” Bacow said. “We intend for this ceremony to have all of the pomp, circumstance, and tradition that is typical of a Harvard commencement—with as many of the traditional campus festivities that typically precede commencement as possible.”

[RELATED: Northwestern makes finals optional due to ‘incredible stress’ from coronavirus]

Harvard is the latest to join a growing list of American colleges and universities that have canceled or postponed their 2020 graduation ceremonies. Campus Reform is maintaining an updated list of such universities.

If you know of other colleges that have canceled their commencement ceremonies or moved online for the rest of the semester, let us know by emailing contact@campusreform.org.

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