LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — The California State University system says it will postpone 2020 commencement ceremonies and is transitioning to “virtual mode” to limit in-person operations.

CSU, whose 23 campuses across California serving 482,000 students, says its making the moves because the health and well-being of students and employees is its foremost priority.

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“As we address a new reality where groupings of people can potentially foster the spread of infection, we must collectively work to limit the gathering of students, faculty and staff as much as possible, while fulfilling our academic mission,” a statement from CSU said.

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Several of Southern California’s CSU campuses — like Cal State LA, Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State Northridge — had already transitioned to online classes through at least mid-April. But Gov. Gavin Newsom warned Tuesday that some schools in California could remain closed into the summer, with students returning in the fall.

CSU officials now say all its 23 campuses will transition all of its operations, including instruction into virtual mode and lower its campus populations of students and employees. All gatherings and events, including commencement ceremonies, will be postponed and likely rescheduled at a date later this year.

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Students are being encouraged to return home, but essential services will still be provided to those who must remain in campus housing. Students and employees who must remain on campus will be directed to maintain social distancing.