ATLANTA — Amid a global pandemic and spread of COVID-19, universities are having to make the tough decision to cancel graduations for students as part of efforts to suppress the spread of the virus.

That became a reality for all public universities in Georgia, as the University System of Georgia sent guidance to the institutions that all spring commencement exercises would be canceled, Wednesday.

The undergraduate ceremonies were set for May 6, 7 and 8. In addition, the associate degree ceremony for May 5 and the Ph.D. hooding ceremony for May 4 will also not be held.

RELATED: UGA cancels spring commencement amid spread of coronavirus

In a message from Georgia State University President Mark Becker to students, Becker shared that GSU's own commencement ceremonies will be impacted by the move. Georgia State is part of the University System of Georgia.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting almost every aspect of our lives, and we all know that large social gatherings—even events as significant as commencements—are just not feasible at this time," Becker said.

RELATED: Coronavirus real-time updates: Two more deaths reported in Georgia

Becker said that all students who complete the requirements will indeed graduate this semester in May, and all degrees will be awarded, though the ceremonies won't be held. Becker said they would be working to honor all their graduates in an "appropriate fashion."

"The university fully understands how profoundly disappointing this news is for you," Becker acknowledged. "I know how meaningful and important a commencement ... We are committed to finding ways to honor you at a time when large gatherings are once again safe."

Diplomas will be sent to graduating students at the end of the semester.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus.  We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information. 

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 

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SEO HEADLINE: Graduation canceled for all public Georgia universities
SEO ABSTRACT: Amid a global pandemic and spread of COVID-19, universities are having to make the tough decision to cancel graduations for students.