Casper College has canceled its physical graduation ceremony in May due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, college officials said.

Instead, it is looking to conduct a "virtual graduation," college spokesman Chris Lorenzen said Tuesday.

"Graduation is the best day of the year for all of us where we celebrate and recognize the achievements of students at Casper College," Lorenzen said,

College President Darren Divine announced the cancellation in a letter to the students on Monday.

"Of all the changes the College has been forced to make because of COVID-19, this message is by far the hardest to send out," Divine wrote.

"A traditional, physical Graduation Ceremony will not occur this May.  It is extremely unlikely that gatherings of that size will be allowed by early May, and thus we cannot in good conscience continue to keep that date on everyone’s calendar," he wrote.

With the virtual graduation, the college will do its best to honor all graduates in a meaningful and inventive fashion, Divine wrote. "We will keep everyone apprised of our progress as plans for a virtual graduation experience begin to take shape."

The college, like the Natrona County School District, the University of Wyoming and other educational institutions in the state shifted to online classes earlier this month as the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic loomed.

As of Monday afternoon, the Wyoming Department of Health reported 109 positive cases statewide and 12 in Natrona County. Of the statewide total, 26 have recovered.

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