Graduation

Keene State College’s commencement ceremony in 2018.

Keene State’s commencement will be held virtually after all, though the college had planned to have an in-person ceremony this fall.

A Facebook post on the college’s commencement page Monday said that due to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Class of 2020 will be honored during an online graduation Oct. 3.

“While we were very much hoping to celebrate our 2020 graduates together, on campus, on October 3,” the post says, “it is clear that ensuring safety precautions for such a large gathering of people from all over New England and beyond, is not possible.”

Keene State’s commencement was originally slated for May 9 but was postponed in March amid concerns over COVID-19.

The plan for an in-person fall ceremony followed shortly after, with students starting a petition — which garnered more than 2,000 signatures — to keep an on-campus graduation.

However, this was contingent on Keene State’s ability to ensure a safe gathering in light of COVID-19, spokeswoman Kelly Ricaurte said in March.

Franklin Pierce University in Rindge also shifted its commencement proceedings online, live-streaming the event this past Saturday, nearly three months after President Kim Mooney sent a video message to Class of 2020 members on what would have been their graduation day. Members of the class will be invited to participate in the next commencement ceremony that is held in person, according to Franklin Pierce’s website.

Olivia Belanger can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1439, or obelanger@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @OBelangerKS.