Nevada’s public colleges and universities will postpone in-person graduation ceremonies this spring and remain on online-only instruction through the end of the year, Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly announced Wednesday.
The schools will still confer degrees in order to allow NSHE graduates to “immediately enter the workforce, especially in the medical and health sciences sector where they are urgently needed,” according to a statement from Reilly.
“Due to the magnitude in scheduling and planning of commencement ceremonies, we don’t foresee a scenario where a traditional graduation could occur at the end of the 2020 spring semester,” Reilly said. “I have directed our institutions to begin developing alternative virtual or delayed ceremonies for later in the summer or fall.”
Alternative plans and dates for the graduation ceremonies for each institution will be presented at the next Board of Regents meeting, currently slated for June 11-12, though the university system said it intends to hold a meeting in the coming weeks.
NSHE will continue with online classes to comply with Gov. Steve Sisolak’s emergency orders on social distancing, Reilly said. NSHE will revisit the need to continue online instruction through the summer at a later time. Some exceptions exist for lab-based classes.
In a separate statement, UNLV President Marta Meana told students that she promised they would have a graduation ceremony at a later date.
“There is simply no scenario in which it would be safe to convene thousands of you at the Thomas & Mack as early as May,” Meana said. “I know how disappointing this situation is for our graduating seniors and their families.”
She said even if the public health situation improved before the end of the semester, to transition back to physical courses would be another disruption to the school year.
UNR announced Tuesday that it would suspend in-person graduations and transition to online-only classes for the rest of the semester.