The majority of Bates College seniors came out to an impromptu graduation ceremony in the quad at the Lewiston college Sunday afternoon, March 15, 2020 in Lewiston. Credit: Russ Dillingham | Sun Journal via AP

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Bates College will hold its commencement online this year, seeking to “create an experience that captures, albeit in a different form, the elements that are most meaningful” within the graduation ceremony, the college’s president said Monday.

The Lewiston Sun Journal reports that college president Clayton Spencer told seniors that the college is planning an online ceremony for May 31, the date of the graduation ceremony, due to coronavirus concerns. School officials will work with senior class officers “to determine the best way to solicit ideas and input from all members of the class” for the virtual commencement, she said.

Bates sent its students home for the semester several weeks ago. It canceled its short term in May a little later after recognizing the COVID-19 threat would likely continue into the summer, the Sun Journal reports.

The virtual commencement will be followed with something on campus once it is safe, but probably not before the end of 2020-21 academic year, Spencer said.

According to the Lewiston Sun Journal, a majority of the school’s seniors held an impromptu ceremony on March 15, fearing that the pandemic would force the cancelation of the graduation.

Located in Lewiston, Bates is an internationally-recognized liberal arts college with 2,000 students, according to its website.