NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) – The coronavirus pandemic is costing seniors at every Connecticut state university a very special moment.
On Tuesday, CSCU announce that commencement ceremonies at all of the state universities have been canceled.
College seniors knew this was a possibility, but they were holding out hope.
Kofi Asiedu is a student at the University of Connecticut and says while he would study hard with his friends, dreaming of his graduation day would motivate him.
“Just being able to graduate and seeing myself able to walk on stage and shake hands, get my diploma would be the best thing in the world,” Asiedu said.
UConn, along with every over state university and community college in the state, canceled their commencement ceremonies amid concerns over COVID-19.
“When I found out there was no commencement it really hurt because all my hard work, everything I did, it wasn’t all for nothing, but I won’t get to be honored in front of my friends, my family,” Asiedu said.
All of the schools have also decided to cancel all in-person classes for the rest of the semester as a precaution, so the final college experience for Asiedu and thousands of other senior students will have to happen staring at a computer screen.
“They took something away from me, something that I can’t get back,” Asiedu said.
Asiedu is still on track to graduate with a degree in communications, but he hopes one day after COVID-19 pandemic ends, school administrators can find a way to honor students by letting them walk across the stage with their diplomas.
“I would definitely attend no question because I think just the fact that it’s graduation, it’s a big achievement, so you kind of have to celebrate in some way,” Asiedu said.
All of Connecticut’s state universities are planning to welcome students back in the fall.
CSCU President Mark Ojakian released a statement saying, "Over the past several days, my team and I have been in constant discussion with college and university leaders, and the Board of Regents. In consultation with them, I have made the difficult but necessary decision to continue our move to all-online education for the remainder of the semester at all 17 CSCU institutions. I understand that this is a new direction for faculty and students alike, but it has become clear that the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to affect our state well beyond April 5. We must do everything in our power not just to keep our students, faculty, and staff healthy and safe, but also to slow the spread of the virus. To that end, all physical campuses will be closed to the public through at least the remainder of the semester. All faculty and staff except those designated by their individual institution as Level 1 – and that number will be extremely limited – will continue to work from home. Unfortunately, this also means that all in-person spring commencement activities will be canceled. I know how hard students and faculty have worked to get to this point, and we are looking at all options to ensure they receive the recognition they deserve in addition to the diploma they have earned."