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How High Schools Across Tampa Bay Will Celebrate Graduations

Polk County high school graduates celebrate
Polk County Schools

High schools across the greater Tampa Bay region are planning in-person graduation ceremonies. Here's a county-by-county breakdown.

As a school year like no other comes to an end, school districts have decided to celebrate commencement with traditional in-person graduation ceremonies — although with some COVID-19 restrictions.

While the particulars of each high school graduation ceremony will be unique to each school, here is what school districts across the greater Tampa Bay region are doing to celebrate their graduating seniors.


Hillsborough County Public Schools' 2021 graduation ceremonies will be held at Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Tapma. Each graduate will receive two tickets for guests. Each ticket will be assigned a designated entrance and specific seating area to reduce crowding. Each ceremony will be livestreamed on the district website for those who cannot attend in person.

To maintain the health and safety of guests, graduates and staff, face coverings are required, arrival times will be staggered and MERV-13 filters will be installed in the Expo Hall.

For more information, go to the Hillsborough County School District website.


Pinellas County has released the dates, times and locations for in-person graduation ceremonies on their website. The majority of the graduations will take place at Tropicana Field, while others will be held at the respective schools. However, the school district note that these plans are tentative and subject to change based on CDC recommendations and state and local health and safety guidelines.

For more information,go to the Pinellas County School District website.


Most of the high schools in Polk County will hold their graduation ceremonies at RP Funding Center in Lakeland, and all ceremonies will be livestreamed with seating disinfected between ceremonies. Only Auburndale High, Fort Meade Middle-Senior, and Frostproof Middle-Senior are hosting graduations at their home stadiums.

Graduates will receive four tickets for guests with assigned seats to ensure social distancing. To prevent exposure, there will be no handshakes, ceremonies will be condensed to an hour and everyone in attendance will be required to wear a face covering. There will also be assigned check-in times, and temperature screenings and security checks as individuals enter.

For more information, go to the Polk County School District Website.


The Sarasota County School District has not finalized its plans on graduation ceremonies in 2021.


All Manatee County School District high schools, except Palmetto High School and Parrish Community High School, announced plans for an in-person graduation. While the specifics of each graduation ceremony vary by school, each has limited graduates to two tickets and will livestream the ceremony.

For more information about specific graduation ceremonies, visit the individual high school’s website or theManatee County School District Website.


Pasco County Schools will hold in-person 2021 graduations in school stadiums. Graduates can bring four guests to attend the ceremony, with two accompanying the graduate on the field and two seated in the bleachers.

For more information, visit the Pasco County School District website.


The Hernando County School District will hold in-person commencement ceremonies. To better ensure safety, all graduation ceremonies will occur outside with a reduced number of people in attendance. Each high school will host two ceremonies to allow for more guests.

For more information, visit theHernando County School District website.

Elizabeth Kauma is the WUSF social media intern for the spring of 2021.
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