The University of Maine System announced Monday that in-person graduation ceremonies for campuses around the state won’t be taking place this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement from system Chancellor Dannel Malloy didn’t come as a surprise because students were instructed earlier this month not to return to campuses after spring break, and they started online learning from remote locations last week.

Graduations across the system had been scheduled for May 9.

“None of us could have foreseen even just a few weeks ago how the sudden onslaught of the global COVID-19 pandemic would make celebrating these traditions in the normal sense a serious threat to public health,” Malloy said in a message to the community.

“It is with a sober sense of responsibility that our presidents and I have therefore decided that we cannot proceed with our planned in-person commencement exercises in early May.”

All universities and the law school will still be awarding degrees on schedule and recognizing students’ academic achievements, Malloy said. Individual campus leaders will be coordinating plans for alternative commencement celebrations that are expected to be in place by mid-April.


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