The United States Air Force Academy plans to hold graduation ahead of schedule this year due to worries of the coronavirus in the Pikes Peak region, the academy announced late Tuesday.
Family, friends and the public will not be allowed to attend the class of 2020's graduation ceremony, which is scheduled to happen April 18, officials said in a news release.
The ceremony is planned to be held six weeks earlier, allowing the graduating cadets to "celebrate together while ensuring their health and safety" while complying with social distancing and other health-related guidelines. The lower three classes at the school were sent home to finish the academic year with online classes, while seniors were kept on campus. The graduating class has the opportunity to help the academy's staff design their graduation ceremony.
"... They will do this with the same care for military tradition and the academy’s legacy as they’ve done leading other world-class academy events,” academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria said in the news release.
Family, friends and the public can live stream the entire ceremony.
Last year, President Donald Trump invited cadets to the stage for a presidential pat on the back and gave 1,000 handshakes and hugs to the graduates. Read more here.