Congratulations to the Class of 2021 (and all the school custodians who helped ceremonies happen safely)!

As we wrap up the second graduation season of the pandemic, it’s safe to say that ceremonies still don’t quite look the way they used to. From socially distanced stadium staging to car parades, the new face of graduation ceremonies have facilities teams working overtime to ensure compliance and safety for students and their families. Let’s take a closer look at some pandemic-inspired graduation ceremonies and some of the ways facility teams across the country have risen to the occasion.




At Elk Grove Unified School District in northern California, nine high school graduations were spread out over a period of three days at two outdoor stadiums to allow for increased physical distancing. On a sunny May Sunday, a team of 10 custodial team members were responsible for setting up two stadiums, which consisted of 1800 chairs, security fencing, Covid-19 signage and extra bleacher cleaning. Hand sanitizing stations were also set up and entry and exit points. After each ceremony, teams cleaned and sanitized chairs and bleachers, removed programs and other debris from the floor, monitored restrooms and police parking for litter during a 30-minute window.


Photo: Keith Drake (Support Services, FMD, University of Georgia)


At the University of Georgia, four graduation ceremonies were spread over three days. The main challenge for facilities and maintenance departments at UGA were keeping up maintenance throughout the entire college campus while preparing for graduation ceremonies with increased Covid-19 protocol. For Kimberly Thomas, senior director of facilities management at UGA, “It was all worth it to see the joy on so many faces to have these graduations (complete with fireworks)!”


Photo: Keith Drake (Support Services, FMD, University of Georgia)



At the University of California at Riverside, graduation consisted of “limited in-person” ceremonies with vaccination and testing requirements. School facilities department is responsible for deep cleaning and maintaining restrooms and common areas before, during and after the event. Outdoor stations were set up for graduates and families to line up before entering the building. Multiple hand sanitizer stations were set up in the staging area and inside the lobby of the building.


We would love to hear how your school was able to celebrate the class of 2021, and about the hard work your facilities teams put into making ceremonies go off smoothly and safely. Please send your photos and stories to or share on your social media and tag @healthyschools!”



Top photo: Keith Drake (Support Services, FMD, University of Georgia)