Public Health now allowing indoor graduations with restrictions

Catholic school graduation.(PNC file photo)

The Department of Public Health and Social Services has issued DPHSS Guidance Memo 2021-14, relative to requirements for graduation ceremonies for Schools (K-12) and Institutions of Higher Education (IHE).

This latest guidance memo now allows indoor graduations subject to certain restrictions.

Earlier, under Guidance Memo 2021-12, indoor graduation ceremonies were prohibited and all graduation ceremonies must be held outdoors.

The island’s Catholic schools, however, had lobbied to be allowed to hold indoor graduations subject to restrictions.

DPHSS Guidance Memo 2021-14 supersedes DPHSS Guidance Memo 2021-12 in its entirety, and provides general requirements and restrictions for social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting, with mandates for all graduation ceremonies other than the “Grad and Go” concept which include, but are not limited to the following:

All Schools and IHEs that would like to have an indoor or outdoor graduation ceremony must develop and submit a detailed COVID-19 mitigation plan to DPHSS at least 14 days prior to the scheduled graduation ceremony. All plans should be sent via email to Schools that anticipate holding graduation ceremonies sooner than 14 days from today are to contact DPHSS Division of Environmental Health immediately. Failure to comply will place schools and IHEs in non­compliance with DPHSS guidance that may result in penalties and/or fines.

  • the total number of persons shall be limited to no more than 50% occupancy load with seating provided the indoor area can maintain the required physical distance if held indoors

  • the total number of persons shall be limited to no more than the outdoor area can maintain with the required physical distance if held outdoors

  • Attendees must be limited to school faculty and staff, graduates, and no more than four (4) guests per graduate provided the graduation site can accommodate the decreased occupancy load and physical distancing.

  • Attendees must pre-register with each school prior to the graduation ceremony in order to be allowed entrance to attend the event

  • All attendees must wear face masks at all times

  • Have a plan in place for staggered entrances and exits and other common places where people congregate in order to reduce the occurrence of bottlenecks.

  • School graduates must enter and exit 3 feet apart from one another in a single line when directed to their seats.

  • IHE graduates must enter and exit 6 feet apart from one another in a single line when directed to their seats.

  • High-touch areas and toilet facilities should be properly staffed to service, clean, and disinfect prior to, during, and after the event.

To view DPHSS Guidance Memo 2021-14 in its entirety, click HERE.

For further questions, please contact the DEH at 300-9579 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m, Monday through Friday, excluding weekends and holidays, or email

(JIC Release No. 649)


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