ELKO – Graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020 have been postponed at Great Basin College and other colleges and universities statewide in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Chancellor Thom Reilly made the announcement on March 25 in a memo, which also directed Nevada System of Higher Education institutions to extend remote instruction through the rest of the spring semester.
Although degrees and certificates will still be conferred to allow graduates to immediately enter the workforce, especially in the medical and health sciences sector, “holding in-person graduation ceremonies is not permitted under current emergency directives,” Reilly said.
He advised institutions to reschedule graduations in the summer or fall, and develop “alternative virtual ceremony proposals” for those events.
Reilly cited the state and federal emergency directives on social distancing that discourage large public gatherings in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Elko County School District has not made any decisions regarding graduation, said Superintendent Todd Pehrson.
College and university students and faculty will continue with online instruction, allowing for case-by-case exceptions where remote learning is not feasible, such as healthcare and Career and Technical Education labs or practicums “where remote learning is not possible.”
“No in-person instruction will occur until after the current semester is complete and when safe to do so,’’ Reilly said. NSHE will review the policy to decide if remote-instruction will proceed into the summer semester.
Reilly said an emergency meeting of the Board of Regents would be announced in the coming weeks to address policy issues that will help NSHE’s more than 100,000 students deal with financial, educational and logistical issues caused by the pandemic, said Board of Regents Chair Jason Geddes.
“The Board of Regents must review these important fiscal, educational, and logistical policies to protect our students from financial hardships caused by the pandemic and allow them to continue on their higher education journey,” Geddes said.
The Board of Regents will meet to discuss and possibly temporarily update policies regarding delinquent accounts and deferred payments.
The Regents will also discuss at the meeting whether to temporarily allow for traditional grading to be replaced with a pass or fail evaluation, address faculty compensation issues, and other issues allowing NSHE campuses to respond to the COVID pandemic.
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