Still, many students and parents have expressed their anger and disappointment about these decisions.
The University of Georgia and Georgia Southern University said Tuesday afternoon it will cancel its commencement ceremony and all upcoming public events, citing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.
Additionally, Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College announced Tuesday evening that they are moving their commencement events from May to December. Spelman College said Wednesday afternoon it will have an in-person ceremony at a later date.
Georgia Southern, which had nearly 5,900 seniors at the start of the fall 2019 semester, was the first public institution in the state to make the announcement, on its website, Tuesday afternoon.
“One of the most important preventative measures is to avoid having people in large groups as advised by the Georgia Department of Public Health and the CDC,” Georgia Southern said in a message on its website. “Accordingly, we unfortunately need to cancel all public events to include our planned commencement exercises on May 8 & 9.”
Georgia Southern spokeswoman Jennifer Wise told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the school is exploring other options to celebrate the graduates.
UGA administrators posted a similar message on its website. It had nearly 10,000 undergraduate seniors at the start of the fall 2019 semester. UGA has nearly 39,000 students.
“We realize that the cancellation of many of these activities is extremely disappointing — particularly the cancellation of Spring Commencement on Friday, May 8, 2020. Therefore, we are exploring other ways to honor our graduates and will communicate when those plans are known. These decisions are not made lightly, but with the best interests of our campus community and our students’ families and loved ones in mind,” the message read.
“Students will still be able to graduate, consistent with academic standards, but the actual ceremonies for both undergraduate and graduate commencement will be canceled for May 8, 2020.”
The University System of Georgia, which oversees operations at UGA, Georgia Southern, Georgia State and Kennesaw State and about 20 other institutions, said Monday it plans to go to online instruction for the rest of the spring semester.