Santa Barbara City College will be holding a virtual graduation ceremony at the end of its spring semester, college president Utpal K. Goswami told students Wednesday.
The commencement is set to take place on May 8 at 5 p.m.
The decision comes after California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley advised colleges to cancel or postpone in-person commencement activities due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Like you, I was looking forward to celebrating this important milestone in person,” Goswami wrote in his letter to students.
“We know that celebrating your achievements is deeply important. We will hold a virtual commencement that will coincide with our regularly planned event. More information about virtual commencement will be shared as plans are finalized. Expect to hear more about this by the first week of April. We are committed to ensuring the virtual commencement is meaningful for all participants.”
SBCC and other local colleges canceled most in-person classes and moved to remote instruction earlier this month.
Goswami said in his letter that 95 percent of the courses will be converted to an online format by the end of spring break, which is this week.
“This is a truly commendable achievement,” he wrote. “I know that could not have been achieved without the dedicated work of faculty, staff and administration working collaboratively with a can-do attitude. I am deeply appreciative of the efforts to ensure continuity of instruction for students.
“In the School of Extended Learning, the team has been working diligently to move as many sections as possible to an online format. As a result of their efforts, it appears that only 11.5 percent of overall noncredit sections will have to be canceled.”
Goswami said the college’s two summer sessions will be conducted in an online-only format, although in-person classes could be added later if conditions improve.
At Westmont College, the school plans to “reschedule commencement when it becomes possible to hold large public events,” said the college’s communications department.
Classes during the spring semester are being done remotely.