EDMONTON -- University of Alberta students who are set to graduate this spring will not be able to walk across a stage in June to receive their diploma.

The COVID-19 health pandemic has forced the university to cancel its in-person ceremony. Instead, the Class of 2020 will be celebrated online.

"This will be a different experience than we were anticipating and a different approach than we have seen in our 112-year history," U of A president David H. Turpin and chancellor Douglas Stollery told students. "However we look forward to creating a memorable online moment for our Class of 2020 and our university community."

In March, the school moved classes online, closed its buildings to the public, and asked students living in residence to move out after one student tested positive for COVID-19.

The virtual ceremony will be held on June 12.

"We also look forward to welcoming our graduates back to the University of Alberta campus at an in-person ceremony, when it is safe to do so," the school added.