By Associated Press - Saturday, June 27, 2020

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Class of 2020 graduates from the University of Southern Mississippi are facing yet another delay in getting their diplomas.

The university said Friday that it was forced to cancel graduation ceremonies that had been scheduled for August amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and an increase in infections in Mississippi.

“We extend our sincere apologies to our Class of 2020, and we share in the disappointment of this difficult decision,” according to a tweet from the university.

In late March, the university rescheduled the spring commencement for Aug. 20 and Aug. 21 because of the growing coronavirus outbreak, WDAM-TV reported.

USM said 2020 graduates will now be invited to walk in the next set of commencement ceremonies that can be hosted on campus. A final decision on ceremonies for December will be made by Sept. 15, the university said.

While the August commencement ceremonies have been canceled, students are still expected to return to campus for the fall 2020 semester. A condensed schedule begins Aug. 17 with on-campus instruction set to end by Nov. 23.

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