PITTSBURG, Kan. — Pittsburg State University will hold commencement ceremonies Friday and Saturday for students who graduated in the spring as well as those graduating this semester, but the university has taken COVID-19 precautions, it recently announced, and has a mitigation plan that includes a walk-through ceremony with no seating, guest limits, a mask requirement, and a livestream option for those watching from home.

“This is a milestone our graduates remember the rest of their lives and they deserve to be recognized for their accomplishment. At the same time, we have to do it in a way that puts a priority on best practices to keep everyone as safe as possible,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Howard Smith said in a press release. “Our spring graduates have been so patient to wait, and we appreciate that. Our fall graduates are being flexible, as well. The Commencement Committee members have gone to great lengths to plan a ceremony for both groups, and I think it’s an effort that in the end, everyone will appreciate.”

The university’s COVID-19 mitigation plan was approved by the Crawford County public health officials.

Friday, Nov. 20

Four ceremonies will be held for fall degree candidates. Each will focus on one of four colleges at PSU, as usual: 2 p.m.: College of Technology undergraduates 4 p.m.: Kelce College of Business undergraduates 5:30 p.m.: College of Education undergraduates 7 p.m.: College of Arts & Sciences undergraduates

Saturday, Nov. 21

One ceremony will be held for fall graduate degree candidates in all colleges, and two ceremonies will be held for spring/summer undergraduate and graduate degree candidates. 9 a.m.: Graduate students in all colleges 10:30 a.m.: Spring/summer undergraduates and graduates in the College of Arts and Sciences and Kelce College of Business Noon: Spring/summer undergraduates and graduates in the College of Education and College of Technology

Degree candidates are allowed four guests. They will enter the Robert W. Plaster Center through the south entrance and will be ushered to a location on the indoor track to social distance from other candidates and guests.

A pre-recorded welcome from PSU President Steve Scott will air on video boards after candidates and guests arrive.

As usual, the ceremonies will be held in the John Lance Arena in the Garfield Weede Building. There will be no faculty/staff processional, though they may watch from the mezzanine of the John Lance Arena. No other audience will be seated; graduates and their guests will be spaced out and will approach the stage in family groups, where each graduate will then move across the platform to be recognized and receive their diploma before exiting the arena with their family group.

Photographers will be stationed with proper distancing, and the ceremonies will be live streamed at pittstate.tv for those who prefer or cannot be in attendance.

Spring 2020 nursing graduates from the Irene Ransom School of Nursing will participate in the school’s traditional pinning ceremony following their college’s ceremony on Saturday, which begins at 10:30 a.m. They’ll then immediately walk to McPherson Hall and will be allowed two guests for the walk-through ceremony. Faculty ushers will be positioned every 10 feet to guide them. If weather is favorable, the ceremony will be held outdoors on the building’s patio.

As has always been the case, graduates may go to the Bell Tower to ring the bell at any point in the day.