UTRGV postpones commencement in response to coronavirus - Brownsville Herald: Education

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UTRGV postpones commencement in response to coronavirus

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Posted: Friday, March 20, 2020 11:30 am

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has postponed all commencement ceremonies that were scheduled for Spring 2020 after UT-System chancellor James B. Milliken issued a letter urging UT-System universities to postpone the ceremonies.

“In light of the Centers for Disease Control’s guidance prohibiting gatherings, all spring commencement ceremonies shall be postponed,” the letter reads. “Graduating students will receive their degrees as scheduled, but the ceremonies we all look forward to will be held at a later date, most likely in the fall.”

In an interview on Wednesday, UTRGV President Guy Bailey said the commencement ceremonies have more than 50 people and that’s why they can’t be held. He said the health and safety of everyone involved comes first.

“We are all looking forward to the day of celebration and unfortunately because of the virus we just need to postpone that for the wellbeing of everybody involved. Health and safety comes first,” he said.

“We would like to do it sooner but we can’t predict the course of the virus and all of this depends on the course of the virus. Until we have a better handle on how that virus is progressing there’s not much we can do.”

The letter from the chancellor also states that all instruction will be provided online and that students away for Spring Break will be encouraged to stay or return home to complete their course work remotely and those currently on campus will be encouraged to return to their homes to do the same.

Also stated in the letter is that living in campus residence halls and participating in campus dining programs will be limited to students who do not have a suitable alternative. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis, to serve students who require this accommodation, while observing social distancing practices. The UT-System is also establishing a system-wide emergency fund to be made available to institutions to address specific student needs.

“The situation nationally and in Texas regarding the spread and impact of COVID-19 is changing rapidly, and we all recognize the need to take unprecedented steps to protect the health of our campus communities as well as do our part to limit the spread of infection more generally,” Milliken wrote.

nreyna@brownsvilleherald.com

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