BYU commencement 03

The Centennial Carillon Tower stands as soon-to-be graduates wait in lines before Brigham Young University's commencement ceremony held Thursday, April 25, 2019, near the Marriott Center in Provo. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

Seniors who have already ordered their caps and gowns for Brigham Young University’s April 23 graduation should keep them in their packages.

BYU announced Wednesday night Spring graduation ceremonies are canceled, along with the campus’s annual Women’s Conference this year, as a protective effort against the COVID-19 virus.

In the announcement, the Church Education System listed the following changes and information about large gatherings and more:

“There will be no gathering for large events such as commencements, convocations, devotionals, conferences, public lectures, performances and concerts,” the statement said. “These events may be cancelled, streamed, or recorded and posted for on-demand use, as determined by leadership at each institution. Brigham Young University will make decisions regarding athletic events.”

According to BYU’s public communications office, no end date to these changes has been determined. They will continue to monitor situations as they continue to arise.

The BYU website says that BYU’s President’s Council and Incident Management Team have been meeting this week and throughout the day regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on BYU’s campus.

“Last night (Wednesday), the Church Educational System provided general guidance to CES Institutions. We will update the campus community on how BYU will move forward in more specific ways as soon as details have been finalized,” the website said.

As for classes, the university announced cancellations for all classes on Friday, Monday and Tuesday. All classes resuming March 18 will be done through remote instruction. Students are encouraged to consider leaving campus and returning home.

Daily seminary for high school students and stake institute programs for adults will follow the gathering decisions of local congregations, according to CES.

The statement also said that release-time seminary and campus institutes will follow the gathering decisions of the local high schools or college campuses.

“When classes need to be canceled, seminary and institute classes may consider remote delivery options. Gatherings for local devotionals and graduations will follow the guidelines provided by the Area Presidency,” the guidelines said.

While decisions on a number of issues that include large gatherings of the student population and the public are fluid at this time, it is certain that the Women’s Conference scheduled for April 30 and May 1, that was to feature Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve and his wife Patricia Holland and keynote speakers, will not happen.

Provo City has yet to determine the financial blow these cancellations will have on the city; thousands of women come to the yearly BYU Women’s Conference, as well as friends and family to graduation.

On Wednesday, the church announced in a statement a number of updates including the announcement that April’s General Conference, all five sessions, will be presented remotely.

“We plan to conduct all five sessions of that conference at the Conference Center. General authorities, general officers and their spouses, musicians, choirs, technicians, and others will participate as assigned. But, proceedings of the conference will be distributed throughout the world via technology only,” the statement said. “The public will not be admitted in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, or in stake centers or meetinghouses in areas where contagion is a concern.”

Also announced Wednesday, the Missionary Training Centers in Provo and Preston, England, will close to new missionaries.

“Beginning March 16, 2020, all missionaries scheduled to enter missionary training centers in Provo, Utah, or Preston, England, will be trained remotely by video conference,” the church statement said.


In Europe, all senior missionaries and young missionaries with serious or chronic medical conditions will return home beginning Thursday.

According to the church, after returning home, they will self-isolate for 14 days. These missionaries will not receive a new temporary assignment but will be considered for reassignment once the COVID-19 situation abates.

The information above now applies to these 22 missions:

  • Adriatic South Mission.
  • Alpine German-Speaking Mission.
  • Belgium/Netherlands Mission.
  • Czech/Slovak Mission.
  • Denmark Copenhagen Mission.
  • England Birmingham Mission.
  • England Leeds Mission.
  • England London Mission.
  • England Manchester Mission.
  • Finland Helsinki Mission.
  • France Paris Mission.
  • France Lyon Mission.
  • Germany Berlin Mission.
  • Germany Frankfurt Mission.
  • Italy Milan Mission.
  • Italy Rome Mission.
  • Norway Oslo Mission.
  • Portugal Lisbon Mission.
  • Scotland/Ireland Mission.
  • Spain Barcelona Mission.
  • Spain Madrid Mission.
  • Sweden Stockholm Mission.


Several of the church’s temples have also been closed because of concern for the workers and patrons. A large number of temple workers and patrons are from an older demographic, which has a higher susceptibility to complications from the coronavirus. Temples temporarily closed currently include:

  • Asunción Paraguay Temple.
  • Boston Massachusetts Temple.
  • Copenhagen Denmark Temple.
  • Fukuoka Japan Temple.
  • Lisbon Portugal Temple.
  • Louisville Kentucky Temple.
  • Manhattan New York Temple.
  • Rome Italy Temple.
  • Seoul Korea Temple.
  • Sapporo Japan Temple.
  • Seattle Washington Temple.
  • Taipei Taiwan Temple.
  • Vancouver British Columbia Temple.

(Previously closed for renovation)

  • Hong Kong China Temple.
  • Tokyo Japan Temple.

For complete information, visit

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire