BERKELEY (CBS SF) – Annual commencement ceremonies with friends and families have been postponed for the graduating Class of 2020 at University of California at Berkeley, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

University officials sent a message to graduating seniors announcing the plan on Monday, and asked students share ideas about how they want to celebrate their “hard work and accomplishments” at the university.

“I am writing today to let you know that due to the continuing public health threat posed by COVID-19, we have decided to postpone the May 16 all-campus commencement,” said UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Crist.

California is currently under an unprecedented statewide shelter-in-place order to stop the spread of COVID-19, prohibiting all non-essential gatherings of any kind. The state’s K-12 schools have been closed, and UC suspended in-person classes on March 10, in an effort to enforce social distancing.

The university is considering several options, including a virtual celebration on the original May 16 date.

“You are the lifeblood of this campus and we share your sadness and frustration that we won’t be able to proceed with our traditional May commencement,” wrote Crist. “I am deeply grateful for our community’s resilience in the face of adversity, and I am committed to celebrating with you.”

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