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District Details Health and Safety Protocols in Place for Class of 2021 Graduation Ceremonies at Petersen Events Center

PITTSBURGH May 21, 2021 –All Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) graduation ceremonies, scheduled to take place at the Petersen Events Center June 12 -13, will adhere to protocols and safety guidelines established in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh.  


“We are quite excited and incredibly thankful that this year we are able to celebrate the Class of 2021 with in-person commencement ceremonies,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Nina Sacco.  “The health and safety of our graduates, guests and staff is a top priority.  We are grateful to the University of Pittsburgh’s Petersen Events Center team for their support, guidance and physical space that will allow us to have hold in-person ceremonies safely.”   


Graduation ceremonies at the Petersen will range in size from approximately 70 to 375 graduates.  District staff have worked closely with Petersen Events Center staff to modify the traditional ceremony to ensure social distancing.  The changes shared as part of today’s media briefing include:


  • Each graduate will receive a maximum of two tickets.
  • Guests will be seated in pairs with six or more feet of social distancing between pairs.
  • Face coverings will be required.
  • Guest requiring handicap accessible seating must notify their school in advance so that seating may be reserved.
  • Instead of one stage, the program will occur on three stages to support social distancing.
  • There will be a screen for each ceremony.
  • A traditional processional will not occur. Students will be seated as they enter the facility.
  • There will be no handshaking.
  • Graduates will receive diplomas in an outdoor area organized by alphabet.


All ceremonies will be streamed live on the District’s website at For a full schedule of commencements taking place across PPS visit