Graduating seniors of Pittsburgh Public Schools may not have the commencement ceremonies they thought they would, but will still be able to celebrate with their fellow classmates thanks to PPG Paints Arena.
The arena will host nine schools’ graduation ceremonies as a drive-in concept, allowing students to watch the virtual celebration together while staying socially distant. The move comes as Allegheny county was cleared into Gov. Tom Wolf’s Green Phase of reopening, which allows restaurants, gyms and other businesses to open with proper social distancing measures but restricts gatherings of more than 250 people.
“Now that we are in the Green, we wanted to provide an opportunity for our high school seniors to come together and be celebrated with their families,” said Superintendent Anthony Hamlet in a statement, via CBS Pittsburgh. “We met with our student leaders, and while we are unable to pull off in-person ceremonies at this time, we agreed that bringing the class together was a fair compromise. We greatly appreciate the willingness of the Pittsburgh Penguins and City of Pittsburgh to pull this opportunity together so quickly for our students.”
Only vehicles with graduating students will be admitted into the arena’s lot and guests are to remain in their cars during the ceremonies, which are all scheduled to take place this weekend.
The arena’s event slate has been wiped clean since the pandemic’s onset. Not only was the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season abruptly halted but prolific concert tours were forced to cancel or move dates. Over the coming months, PPG Paints Arena was scheduled to host shows featuring Justin Bieber, Reba McEntire, Rage Against the Machine, James Taylor, Harry Styles and more. Those shows have since been rescheduled for future dates.