As schools across the nation grapple with the tough decisions of cancelling commencement activities for the class of 2020, Saint Peter’s University is digging its heels in the ground -- even if that means rescheduling exercises until at least the end of May.

In an email sent to the Saint Peter’s community, Provost Frederick Bonato, Ph.D explained that he was unsure when, where and how baccalaureate, the John J. Delaney ‘50 Graduate reception and commencement will take place. 

“We believe this decision is the right one given that the health of our community is our prime concern,” the email read. “Nonetheless--this decision is painful and we are especially sorry about how this pandemic has affected celebration plans for the Class of 2020. The last months leading up to graduation should be when the campus is bustling with activity and a time to create special memories, and so I am especially disappointed for all of you who are finishing your degrees.”

Despite this, the email explained that the university is committed to holding a ceremony, and that more information will become available “as our situation becomes clearer.”

“We are certainly keeping open the possibility that we can do something to recognize our graduates’ achievements later this spring, but the current public health conditions make a more concrete prediction impossible to make at this time,” the email read.

The email also explained that the Office of Leadership and Engagement will also be in touch with students with a plan for Senior Week.

As Saint Peter’s tries their best to reschedule commencement to a later date, many universities have not made the same decision. 

Rutgers University has suspended commencement out of precaution, and “a final determination on whether or not commencements can be rescheduled to a later date will be made in the coming weeks.” 

University of Pennsylvania will be holding a virtual graduation, with later in-person ceremonies when “it is safe and feasible to do so.”

As of March 19, the state of New Jersey has 742 positive COVID-19 cases, with 55 of the test results coming from Hudson County, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. 

On March 16, Saint Peter’s made the decision to continue online courses through the end of the spring term and effectively closing the residence halls. As of Wednesday, March 19, all Saint Peter’s employees have begun working remotely. 

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