20190512_MET_VCUGRAD_01

Tyrone L. Frye Jr., a business economics major from Northern Virginia, waited with others as they gathered for VCU's graduation in May 2019 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Virginia Commonwealth University is moving classes online for the rest of the semester and postponing its May commencement.

The Class of 2020 will be honored during the December commencement, VCU President Michael Rao said.

The university announced the moves Wednesday night, saying classes will be held remotely to "ensure that students can complete the semester as safely as possible and with as much continuity as possible."

In his message to the university community, Rao said: "We realize that this kind of learning and teaching is new for many of you, and that you will be understanding of each other as we blaze this trail together."

Rao said the university library is working on digitizing resources, including textbooks and required reading, so students can still access class materials. He also said the university will be issuing refunds and credits for housing and dining.

VCU is joining a growing number of colleges, including the University of Richmond and the University of Virginia, in postponing its May graduation ceremonies. Rao called the decision "necessary but disappointing."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance this week recommending the cancellation of events with 50 or more people through early May.

"We will still make sure that May graduates, as well as the many individuals who supported our graduates through the years, are recognized in a special way," said Rao, who pledged that more information will be released soon.

Rao's message also said that working from home is mandated for all nondesignated VCU employees through the end of April.

"We all feel the loss of leading our normal lives for reasons that are beyond anyone’s control," Rao said. "We are in the midst of this unprecedented life-threatening situation, where there are no easy decisions or solutions."

jmattingly@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6012

Twitter: @jmattingly306​

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