In a move that at this point is not surprising, the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) has canceled this year's on-campus graduation ceremony. They say that they are working on plans for a "virtual" commencement ceremony at this point. The events will be held on the same dates that the ceremonies were originally scheduled (May 16-18).

UPenn is the first local college to make such an announcement. Given the updated safety guidelines from government officials, we expect to see similar plans being announced by all local colleges.

So, yes, it is also safe to assume that a similar move will take place at almost all other college campuses across the country (and the world) in the coming days.

In Monday's statement, the University of Pennsylvania noted the updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC), which essentially ban gatherings of more than 50 people for at least the next 8 weeks to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"We cannot responsibly plan to bring thousands of people to campus for our traditional Commencement and Alumni Weekend in May," the university's president Amy Gutmann wrote on Monday.

"To protect the health of our graduates, their families, alumni, and faculty and staff of the University-our highest priority in the face of this unprecedented coronavirus pandemic - we are canceling this year's on-campus Commencement events and moving them to a virtual ceremony that will be broadcast online," Gutmann wrote.

College officials recognize that commencement is a special time to celebrate the "extraordinary achievements" of graduates.

"While it will not be the same as our traditional ceremony, we are committed to finding the best way possible to recognize the achievements of the Class of 2020, and we will strive to make the virtual event as meaningful and celebratory as the circumstances permit," UPenn says.

Additionally, Gutmann says that they will explore the possibility of an on-campus celebration this fall for the school's 2020 graduates.

"Together we will make it work," the college says.

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