Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University (APSU), after consulting with state health experts, announced on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2020 that it will not host in-person commencement ceremonies in the Dunn Center on December 11th-12th, 2020 because of concerns over the growing number of COVID-19 Coronavirus cases in the region and the state.
The Austin Peay State University’s commencement committee is developing plans for alternate Fall Commencement celebrations. Once finalized, updated information on these celebrations will be emailed to the campus community and posted to the commencement website, www.apsu.edu/commencement.
“This was a difficult decision because graduating is a significant achievement, and we look forward every semester to celebrating our students’ hard work,” Austin Peay State University Interim President Dannelle Whiteside said.
“But the safety of our campus and local communities must come first. After discussing the issue with the University’s senior leadership, members of the APSU COVID-19 Command Team and state health experts, we’ve concluded that we cannot safely host our Fall Commencement on December 11th-12th,” stated Whiteside.
This week, the University successfully transitioned from on-ground to fully online instruction, as originally planned, for the remainder of the fall semester. While cases remained manageable at Austin Peay State University over the last few months, health experts are seeing a disturbing rise in cases across the region.
According to the Tennessee Department of Health, “the total COVID-19 case count for Tennessee is 380,186 as of December 1st, 2020, including 4,638 deaths, 2,369 current hospitalizations and 336,131 recovered.” The department also reports only 8% of Intensive Care Unit hospital beds remain available across the state.
“I’m very saddened that we had to make this difficult decision,” Whiteside said. “Celebrating our students’ success is an important tradition at this institution, and we will definitely find a way to honor their achievements. Please know that this decision was made to keep our students, their families and our community safe and healthy.”