SAN ANTONIO – The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a wrench into high school graduation plans for the class of 2020 in the San Antonio area.
Will it happen? When will it happen? How will it happen?
Gov. Greg Abbott and Texas Education Agency Mike Morath on Tuesday gave some guidance on the steps school districts can take.
Texas high schools have four options, including virtual ceremonies, hybrid ceremonies with a compilation video of graduating students, and vehicle ceremonies that are similar to car parades.
Schools can also choose in-person ceremonies that are outdoors only. They can take place as early as May 15 in rural counties that have not been hard hit by COVID-19. Ceremonies in larger counties cannot take place until after June 1, according to the education agency.
School systems would have to limit the number of total participants, screen participants and adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Here is the latest information we’ve gathered from various school districts on their plans for commencement ceremonies.
This list will be updated as more districts announce their plans.
Alamo Heights ISD: High school officials are exploring several options for graduation ceremonies, but no final decision yet.
Boerne ISD: Graduation dates for Boerne ISD are June 4 for Champion High School and June 5 for Boerne High School. The ceremonies will still be held at Boerne ISD Stadium at 8 p.m. and will comply with state and local guidelines regarding public gatherings. Seniors will officially graduate and their diplomas will be conferred on the last day of school, May 21. For graduates not participating in a ceremony, paper diplomas will be available for pick up the week after graduation.
Comal ISD: The district announced Friday, May 8, that it will hold graduation ceremonies at its stadiums. The dates are as follows:
- Memorial Early College High School, June 2, 8 p.m. at CHS Stadium
- Canyon High School, June 3, 8 p.m. at CHS Stadium
- Canyon Lake High School, June 4, 8 p.m. at CLHS Stadium
- Smithson Valley High School, June 5, 8 p.m. at SVHS
- Comal Academy seniors will participate in ceremonies with their home campus.
Students are limited to five guest tickets each but the district will livestream the event. A virtual graduation ceremony will still take place on May 30.
East Central ISD: A virtual graduation ceremony will take place on May 30, the day the traditional ceremony was supposed to take place. This will include speeches, photos of every graduate and more.
Also on that day, a drive-thru parade, with decorations on campus and the playing of the pomp and circumstance and alma mater, will be held from 8-11 a.m.
The district will hand out diplomas to students in their vehicles. Families that cannot fit inside the vehicle may line the road leading into the main office with their own vehicles — honking and flashing their lights to cheer on their graduates as they pass by.
Edgewood ISD: Graduation tentatively scheduled for June 6, although district officials don’t know yet if the ceremony will be traditional or virtual. Officials are also looking into summer graduation options. Final decision expected soon.
Harlandale ISD: The district said the new guidance “provides relief” as outdoor ceremonies were already planned at Memorial Stadium. The dates are as follows:
- Frank Tejeda Academy, June 1, 10 a.m.
- STEM Early College High, June 1, 8 p.m.
- Harlandale High School, June 2, 10 a.m.
- McCollum High School, June 3, 10 a.m.
The number of guests will be limited, according to a news release.
Judson ISD: District officials decided to hold a virtual graduation ceremony, but if restrictions for large gatherings are lifted, a traditional ceremony is scheduled for July 22 and 23 at Freeman Coliseum. A third option would be to hold a ceremony in December at Rutledge Stadium.
North East ISD: A graduation event will be held in high school auditoriums June 1-5. Each auditorium will have a decorated stage and photographer. An announcer will call the student, who will be joined by their parents in the auditorium and allow them to take their own pictures and video if they choose.
Students will need to RSVP for the event and the student will be given a specific day and time to appear. High school principals will send an email to students describing in detail how the event will work.
The district is working on a virtual graduation for digital distribution that will include pre-produced speeches and pictures of students with their cap and gown taken in the fall.
Northside ISD: Graduation ceremonies are tentatively scheduled for July 17-26. If large gatherings are not permitted by officials, a virtual graduation will be held that will honor students individually. High school officials will reach out to students on how to pick up a cap and gown and how to submit a photo in their cap and gown in the event of a virtual graduation ceremony.
San Antonio ISD: The district has tentatively scheduled the following graduations, pending approval from city and county officials. If large gatherings are not allowed, virtual celebrations will be conducted.
- Healy-Murphy: July 24, 4 p.m., Alamo Convocation
- Fox Tech: July 24, 7:30 p.m., Alamo Convocation
- HS Equivalent: July 25, 3 p.m., Alamo Convocation
- Travis ECHS: July 25, 5:30 p.m., Alamo Convocation
- Jefferson High School: July 27, 4 p.m., Alamodome
- Burbank High School: July 27, 7:30 p.m., Alamodome
- Highlands High School: July 28, 8 a.m., Alamodome
- Brackenridge High School: July 28, 11 a.m., Alamodome
- Sam Houston High School: July 28, 2 p.m., Alamodome
- Edison High School: July 29, 4 p.m., Alamodome
- Lanier High School: July 29, 7 p.m., Alamodome
- St. Philip’s ECHS: July 31, 4 p.m., Alamo Convocation
- Cooper Academy: July 31, 7 p.m., Alamo Convocation
- ALA: Aug. 1, 3 p.m., Alamo Convocation
- ALA: Aug. 1, 3 p.m., Alamo Convocation
- YWLA: Aug. 1, 5 p.m., Alamo Convocation
Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD: Traditional graduations are tentatively scheduled for June.
- Allison Steele Enhanced Learning Center - June 25, 6:30 p.m. (Clemens Auditorium)
- Byron P. Steele II High School - June 29, 7:30 p.m.
- Samuel Clemens High School - June 30, 7:30 p.m.
Depending on if large gatherings are allowed, here are the following options where the graduations will be held.
- Plan A - Freeman Coliseum. The venue also depends if San Antonio and Bexar County officials give the go-ahead
- Plan B - Lehnhoff Stadium. If San Antonio and Bexar County will not allow for Plan A, the graduation will be held at the stadium. The seating capacity should spread graduates and guests out in a manner that is consistent with guidance at that time.
- Plan C - TBD. If large gatherings are not allowed in late June, graduation dates would be pushed to July, or a more socially distant type of event could be held. Should a Plan C become more likely in the future, officials will consider options for some type of ceremony.
Somerset ISD: Traditional graduations are tentatively scheduled for June.
- Somerset High School - 4 p.m., July 19 at Freeman Coliseum.
- Zacharias Early College Leadership Academy - 6 p.m., July 25 at the Palo Alto College Performing Arts Center.
The plans are still contingent on being able to hold indoor ceremonies. If those types of gatherings are not allowed, the district will move graduations to Bulldog Stadium in Somerset, possibly at earlier dates.
South San ISD: Plans are still being worked out following the new TEA guidelines. The June 4 in-person graduation has not officially been canceled.
COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March. The first case confirmed in the U.S. was in mid-January and the first case confirmed in San Antonio was in mid-February.
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