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Front Range Community College will cancel all spring commencement ceremonies due to the continued spread of coronavirus in Colorado.

“It’s a difficult decision because I think it’s the favorite day of the year for pretty much everyone in the college, and I know it’s really important to students,” said President Andy Dorsey. “I had to weigh the chance that we would be far enough down the path of stopping the spread of the virus with the need of people to make a decision now, especially those with friends and family coming into town.”

The Boulder County and Westminster campus commencement ceremonies were set for May 13, the Larimer campus ceremony was set for May 12.

Staff were informed of the decision in an email Tuesday, and students were told in an email later in the day. The college also announced its three campuses would be mostly closed.

There is too much uncertainty about the spread of the new coronavirus to move forward with ceremonies, Dorsey said, which bring thousands of people together in one place. Large gatherings are currently banned by local and state agencies in an effort to slow the spread of the illness.

“It seems like a long shot that we will be back to a point where we could bring 4,000 or 5,000 people together in a small space,” he said.

Campus leaders sent a survey to students asking them what they want to do as an alternative, said spokesman John Feeley, and received more than 100 responses in the first hour.

Students who have already registered for graduation can vote on whether they prefer to postpone the ceremony until a later date, hold a virtual ceremony or offer other suggestions.

“It’s a very difficult decision and I was very sorry to make it, because I know it means a lot to a lot of people. We’re going to do our absolute best to find an alternative,” Dorsey said.

Front Range will also close all of its campuses to visitors and most staff by 4 p.m. Wednesday until April 12. The closure does not apply to “some facilities and public safety staff and for staff supporting technical infrastructure for remote instruction,” Feeley said.

Front Range campuses are already transitioning to all online classes in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Student services are still available online, including mental health counseling, Feeley said.

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