Fresno-area college seniors who are graduating in May won’t get to participate in traditional cap-and-gown ceremonies due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
But at least they’ll be able to complete their coursework in time to graduate. Classes at Fresno State and Fresno Pacific University have migrated from in-person to online.
Campuses at both universities are remaining open to some extent, but with limited services available to students.
Virtual instruction will remain in effect from Friday through the end of the semester. This includes laboratory, performing arts, arts, and kinesiology courses. Students will continue to work on agricultural operations on the university farm but will practice social distancing.
Students who already paid for commencement paraphernalia will get refunds.
The Henry Madden Library will close Friday to most public use and be limited to essential services that include the DICOVERe Hub and other resources that support virtual instruction.
Dorms Are Mostly Vacant
Most of the 900 students in campus housing have moved out. Of those remaining, the university is asking those students who can leave to do so by Friday. The remaining students can remain as long as allowed by the Department of Public Health, and meals and other support services will be provided to them. Fresno State will refund on a pro-rated basis the unused portion of students’ housing and meal plans.
Limited to-go meals are available to the campus community in the Residence Dining Hall.
The Student Recreation Center is closed except for the office staff.
Vintage Days, an annual student-run event in April, has been canceled.
Some Services Still Open
The Student Cupboard will remain open to provide food and essential hygience items to students. Also open: the Student Health and Counseling Center, Services for Students with Disabilities, Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, Student Accounting Services, and DISCOVERe Hub.
Fresno State is posting COVID-19 updates at fresnostate.edu/president/coronavirus.
The May 9 commencement and related activities will be rescheduled. Associated events include the Graduate Hooding Ceremony, Seminary Gala, Multicultural Celebration, and Graduate Research Symposium.
“This decision was made after much deliberation, relying on expert advice from public health agencies and with our peers at other institutions of higher learning,” Fresno Pacific President Joseph Jones said. “We realize commencement is a significant event in the lives of our students and their families and are committed to ensuring there are future opportunities to celebrate your hard work and success.”
For now, the main Fresno Pacific campus in southeast Fresno, which includes the Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, and regional campuses in Merced, north Fresno, Visalia, and Bakersfield, are open.
Residence halls on the main campus are open to remaining students, and the Shehadey Dining Hall is open only to the Fresno Pacific community and first responders. The fitness center is closed.
Updates are being posted at fresno.edu/coronavirus.