WACO (CBSDFW.COM) – The outbreak of the new coronavirus and fears about it’s spread has Baylor University extending online instruction for the remainder of the semester and canceling all May Commencement ceremonies.

Administrators sent notice to students suggesting they change their plans after spring break and not return to ‘campus or to Waco, as available activities and services are becoming more and more limited.’

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Citing the Center for Disease Control’s latest guidance for mass gatherings, the university said May Commencement ceremonies have been postponed.

In the statement President Linda A. Livingstone said, “This difficult and unprecedented decision – one being faced by colleges and universities throughout the country – was made with the health, well-being and safety of our students, faculty and staff in mind.”

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University leaders said Baylor will still confer degrees in May for those who satisfy the academic requirements.

“We also know how meaningful it is for graduates to walk across the stage at Commencement, and we plan to extend that opportunity to our spring graduates at an August ceremony,” Livingstone detailed.

On Monday the university also began restricting access to residence halls to students who have no other option than to be there. Officials said those not returning to campus would be given an opportunity to retrieve their personal belongings later in the semester.

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The University also extended the suspension of events — including athletic activities and conferences — through the end of the semester.