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Graduations cancelled as universities try to limit spread of coronavirus

Institutions of higher learning have cancelled graduations and other formal events due to the coronavirus.
Institutions of higher learning have cancelled graduations and other formal events due to the coronavirus.
Image: 123RF/lightwise

Higher education institutions have cancelled graduations and other formal gatherings amid the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Stellenbosch University said on Friday it had decided to cancel the graduation ceremonies scheduled for the week of March 31 to April 3.

“This decision, which was not taken lightly, will mitigate the risks associated with large gatherings and exposure to individuals who may have travelled internationally.

​​“We realise the importance of graduation in the lives of our students, parents, family and friends and it is regrettable that we find ourselves in this situation,” the university said in a statement.

“All graduands will receive their qualifications in absentia, and certificates and academic records will be made available to you during April 2020. Communication in this regard will be sent to graduands in the following week,” SU said.

Students were advised to visit the graduation webpage from March 24 for information on the relevant logistical arrangements.

Meanwhile, Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng, vice-chancellor at the University of Cape Town, said the institution had postponed the installation of its chancellor.

Additionally, it had also decided to reassess travel and events, such as conferences and symposiums, and considering different ways to continue teaching and learning at UCT while limiting the risk of spreading infection.

“With this in mind, the university leadership has taken the decision to postpone the installation of our chancellor on Monday, March 16, and to suspend the March graduation ceremonies, which were scheduled to start on Thursday, March 19.

“Meanwhile, the registrar’s office will send details to graduands about how they can receive their graduation certificates,” Phakeng said.

She said that as deeply important as these events are for the campus community, it is much more important that they take responsible decisions that will help to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

Both institutions said this was not a light decision to make and that they understand the disappointment it will create.


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