Graduate students sit patiently and wait to be called on stage.

K-State graduate students wait to be called on stage in December 2019. There will be no graduations in 2020 after university officials canceled fall commencement.

K-State is canceling its fall commencement because of a surge of COVID-19 cases on campus and throughout the state, university officials announced Tuesday morning.

The graduation events in Manhattan and Salina had been scheduled for this weekend on Friday through Sunday.

The university will hold a virtual recognition in December. K-State will release details at a later date.

“With hundreds of new cases announced in our host communities in the past few days, the trend line is absolutely going in the wrong direction,” K-State President Richard Myers said in a news release. “Concerns have been expressed by our students, faculty and staff not only for their personal health, but with a willingness to look out for the health of fellow K-Staters.”

This decision makes 2020 a year with no in-person commencement. K-State didn’t hold a ceremony in the spring after canceling in-person classes in March because of the pandemic.

University officials said they consulted with county health departments prior to making the decision on fall ceremonies. They said capacity in the health care community was a major factor as medical providers and local hospitals are at or beyond capacity due to the recent surge in cases.

“We understand this will be a disappointment to our students, faculty and staff members who were looking forward to this celebration,” said Charles Taber, provost and executive vice president. “Canceling now discourages family from visiting and gathering in Manhattan and Salina this weekend and ensures that commencement ceremonies do not become superspreading events for communities that are already COVID hot spots.”

The university will be scaling back other events, including a virtual ribbon cutting for the new Morris Family Multicultural Student Center. Group tours are canceled and the event will be held outdoors to minimize risk for the limited number of participants.