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Howard Community College postponing May graduation during coronavirus outbreak

Howard Community College is postponing its May commencement ceremony, a decision taken by numerous colleges and universities across the country as a result of the coronavirus health emergency.

“Commencement is the culmination of years of work for the Class of 2020 and the most joyous celebration at the college. However, there continues to be too much uncertainty about how long the Maryland state of emergency will last,” Howard Community College President Kate Hetherington said in a statement.

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“As a result, the college made the difficult decision to postpone commencement,” she added.

HCC’s graduation was originally scheduled for May 22.

Classes are canceled this week to allow for professors to prepare for remote learning. Last week, the college announced all classes will move online for the rest of the semester.

All on-campus events are canceled through May 31.

Most Maryland colleges and universities are switching to online learning. The University of Maryland and all other university systems will move all undergraduate classes to a fully online environment for the rest of the semester.

Johns Hopkins University announced March 18 that its in-person spring commencement was canceled. The university said it is planning an in-person celebration at a “later date,” and opportunities to walk at future graduation ceremonies will be offered.

Morgan State University in Baltimore, Towson University and St. John’s College in Annapolis have also canceled or postponed their spring commencements.

HCC will reschedule the spring commencement ceremony “to allow [for] students to fully celebrate with friends and family,” Hetherington said.

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Additional information on HCC’s response to the coronavirus pandemic can be found on its website at howardcc.edu/coronavirus.

As of Monday, there have been at least 288 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Maryland, according to state officials, with 26 of those in Howard County, including a case with a 5-year-old girl. Three people have died in the state so far.

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