facebook pixel Skip to Main Content
Idaho State University home

ISU COVID-19 Commencement Precautions Spring 2021

February 25, 2021

In-person commencement has been approved for Idaho State University on Saturday, April 24, 2021, generating an array of questions about safety. Commencement planners have prioritized the health of participants above all other concerns, adopting numerous safety measures to mitigate risk for all attendees. Commencement will look different this year, and the following guide can help you know what to expect. Traditional activities, such as handshakes, hoodings, and other ceremony staples that don't allow for social distancing will not occur. We ask for your help to ensure that ISU Commencement 2021 is a safe and memorable experience.

Basic Precautions

  • Hand sanitizer and other supplies will be available throughout the venue.

  • Everyone (graduates, audience members, faculty, and volunteers) will wear face coverings at all times.

  • Everyone is required to maintain 6 feet of physical distancing.

  • Bottled beverages will be available before each ceremony, but there will be no other concessions.

  • Holt Arena will be sanitized between ceremonies per approved COVID-19 safety protocols.

  • High risk populations, people who have COVID-19, and those who are in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 should stay home and watch the live-streamed ceremony. 

  • Prior to participating, volunteers will be screened via a health questionnaire.

Audience Seating

  • We have increased the number of ceremonies from one to three with fewer attendees at each to allow for proper distancing.

  • Only a limited number of tickets will be available (four per graduate).

  • Audience members will be ticketed and assigned their seats in groups of twos and fours with proper distancing between each group.

  • No seating will be allowed except for ticketed guests in their assigned seats.

Traffic Flow

  • Check-in times will be assigned and staggered to avoid crowds.

  • Entrances will be assigned based on role and seating assignment. 

  • Volunteers and floor-markings will help ensure distancing during check-in.

  • One-way traffic flow will be encouraged with floor markings, signs, barriers, and volunteers.

  • Graduates and other guests will be encouraged to exit the venue promptly after the ceremony ends to allow time for the venue to be cleaned and sanitised before the next ceremony. 

  • No crowds will be allowed to form in or near the restroom without maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet.

Procession and Seating

  • Graduates will not line up and process together. Instead, they will go directly to their assigned seats upon check-in.

  • One representative per college will process with college banners.

  • Graduates’ chairs will be spaced at least 6 feet apart on Holt turf.

  • The platform party will be down-sized to allow for proper spacing on the stage. They will process with appropriate distancing.

  • Faculty will be seated at least 6 feet apart from one another.

Stage Protocols

  • Activities on stage will include appropriate recognition of each student while maintaining safe distancing. 

  • The platform party will wear face coverings at all times, with the exception of the person speaking at the podium who may remove their mask during remarks. 

  • Name readers will not be required to wear masks when speaking, but additional precautions will be taken including the use of plexi-glass panels.

  • Gloves will be worn by anyone who will have contact with students’ name cards or any other shared materials.

  • Stage-crossing will be no-contact (no handshakes, hoodings, hugs etc.)

  • There will be no live musical performances. Performances of the National Anthem and Alma Mater will be pre-recorded and shown on video screens.


  • Photographs of groups or individuals who are not part of the same household or cohort will be discouraged.

  • There will be a professional photo opportunity for each graduate provided by Lifetouch.

Explicit Instructions

  • There will be clear signage everywhere to help attendees know where to go and to help maintain the appropriate social distance of at least 6 feet.

  • A video explaining behavior expectations including where to go and how to keep oneself safe at commencement will be made available before the ceremony.

Continued Vigilance

  • COVID-19 risk levels in Bannock County will be closely monitored.

  • Event organizers will remain in close contact with Idaho State’s health committee and Southeast Idaho Public Health regarding event plans.

  • Due to the ever-changing atmosphere of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also making plans for virtual events, should they become necessary.


University News