University of Iowa canceling spring commencement, students must start moving out Thursday
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University of Iowa canceling spring commencement, students must start moving out Thursday

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Dedication Ceremony for the Mary Louise Petersen Residence Hall on The University of Iowa campus Tuesday, July 21, 2015. The new building also houses the Theodore M. Rehder Residential Learning Commons, six Living-Learning Communities and 252 student rooms.

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa has announced it is extending virtual instruction through the rest of the semester, delaying their start by one week, closing most residence halls, and canceling spring commencement ceremonies as it moves to ramp up its response to the spreading COVID-19.

“We are extremely disappointed to announce that we must cancel spring commencement ceremonies,” according to a message the university sent to its campus community Wednesday — shortly after Board of Regents President Michael Richards declared a state of emergency on the campuses.

“We know how much these ceremonies mean to our students and their families, but we feel it is the right decision to protect those most vulnerable to the threat of infection,” according to the UI message. “We are in the process of planning an alternative celebration for graduating Hawkeyes and will share additional details soon.”

In announcing plans to close most residence halls, other on-campus housing, and its marketplaces by Thursday, the university said its coordinating instructions for an orderly move-out and transition and will provide details about refunds for housing and dining contracts soon.

“We ask that students do not return to the residence halls until their designated time to move out,” according to the UI message. “If a student is currently on campus for spring break, they should begin preparations to move out.

“We realize that not all students have alternative housing and dining options, and we will continue to accommodate students who cannot immediately return to their permanent residence.”

Requests to remain in the residence halls will be submitted online.

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