Coronavirus: University of Guelph convocation, alumni weekend will not be held this June

The University of Guelph has announced that it will not be holding its usual spring convocation and alumni weekend events in early June in an effort to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

However, officials stress that students on track to graduate will still graduate and will receive degree parchments in the mail.

“We know that this is very disappointing news for our graduating students, their families and our alumni,” said president Franco Vaccarino.

“Both convocation and Alumni Weekend are very important for our University. Celebrating our students’ accomplishments is a source of great joy for everyone on campus, and both events provide opportunities for us to look back with pride and to look forward with hope. However, the safety of our community must be our top priority.”

The university says it is “exploring other potential ways” to celebrate graduation that could potentially include a rescheduled ceremony, as well as looking into “how to conduct Alumni Weekend reunions that meet requirements for social distancing.”

As of Friday afternoon, no alternative plans were confirmed for either convocation or alumni weekend but “more information is forthcoming.”

In addition to the sheer number of people who would be taking part in convocation or alumni weekend events, Vaccarino said officials also considered that both require significant planning and travel, which cemented their decision.

“Our world is so very different from what it was even just a few weeks ago,” Vaccarino said.

“Things are changing every day, sometimes even by the hour. In the last few weeks, we have had to make decisions and adapt — and we have had to do it faster than we ever imagined. But our University’s resiliency during these challenging times has amazed me. We will continue to work through this together.”

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