Universities in Edinburgh are cancelling summer graduation ceremonies in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Thousands of students at the city’s four universities – Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, Napier and Queen Margaret University (QMU) – will be affected as each been involved in discussions about postponing their ceremonies until later in the year or holding alternative virtual ceremonies in light of the deepening crisis.
Edinburgh University confirmed that its graduation ceremonies scheduled to take place in Summer 2020 will no longer be happening.
The university said it “currently expects that degree certificates for students entitled to graduate this summer will be printed and mailed by the end of July 2020.”
Universities in Edinburgh are cancelling summer graduation ceremonies in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Jane Barlow. Copyright: JPIMedia
Students and their families affected are being offered alternatives including deferral to attend in-person ceremonies later in the year or summer next year, to attend a virtual graduation, or simply to receive their certificate and not attend a ceremony.
Queen Margaret University’s Rector Dr Rob Butt, has told staff in a memo that all public events will be cancelled from Monday.
He wrote: ” This is due to the number of events already postponed and our commitment to the safety and wellbeing of our community.
“Public events, that is events with less than 500 people involving anyone from outside the QMU community, can continue up until 23 March since we have had no indication from Health Protection Scotland that there is a risk to our community at this time. Again, this position will be reviewed daily.
“July 2020 graduation ceremonies will be rescheduled, most likely to autumn 2020. We will communicate further details when they are available. ”
Heriot Watt University has not made any formal announcement but is expected to follow suit by the middle of the week.
Edinburgh Napier, meanwhile, is still working on the basis that its July ceremonies will go ahead, but is working up contingency plans if the situation changes.
A spokesman said on Friday: “Graduations are the highlight of the year at Edinburgh Napier and, as it stands, we hope to be able to hold our ceremonies as planned at the Usher Hall in early July.
“However, the Coronavirus situation is fast moving and we are working on contingency plans to ensure that all eligible students will be able to graduate in the event that we have to postpone these particular ceremonies.
“As a result, we will soon open graduation registration. This will allow us to issue graduation parchments and graduate all eligible students in absentia whether ceremonies go ahead or not.”
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