SAN PATRICIO COUNTY – Since Spring Break students haven’t stepped foot inside school buildings as virtual learning quickly became the norm around the country.
For most 2020 seniors the only thing that was certain was that they would graduate, they just didn’t know how. Some schools around the country have opted for Zoom graduations over multiple days. Some even adopted drive-by ceremonies and a Dallas County school attened their graduation in vehicles but couldn’t get out, they just hung out of windows and sunroofs and cheered as their names were called.
Since Gov. Greg Abbott has been making efforts towards reopening the state, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released guidelines on May 18 for outdoor graduations to a collective sigh of relief from both seniors and their families alike.
Friday, June 5
Sinton High School
Sinton seniors will graduate at Pirate Stadium, 440 N. Pirate Blvd. in Sinton, with the gates opening at 6:30 p.m. and the ceremony kicking off at 8 p.m.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, admission will be by ticket only for the graduate’s immediate family. Sinton ISD school employees, students and parents must comply with the Guidance on Summer Instruction, Activities and School Visits as set forth by TEA and the State of Texas.
Friday, June 12
Gregory-Portland High School
G-P seniors’ graduation ceremony will kick off at 7 p.m. at Ray Akins Wildcat Stadium 4600 Wildcat Dr. in Portland. Families who plan to attend this outdoor event must RSVP in advance to enter the ceremony. There will be only reserved seating, with a limit of no more than three individual guests per household in addition to the graduate. (The guest limit was determined based on TEA requirements for seating, which includes six feet of distance between groups of household guests.)
In the event that a significant number of graduates/families opt to be involved in only the virtual ceremony, it is possible that an additional guest may be granted per household at a later time. If that occurs, families will be notified on or before Wednesday, June 10.
G-P admin said the virtual production (in addition to an outdoor ceremony) is being developed to serve as both a means to celebrate from home and a contingency plan in the event that inclement weather, governmental agencies or changes in health conditions locally closer to the date of graduation and may result in the unforeseen cancellation of the outdoor event.
For the ceremony all participants (including graduates and their guests, presenters, staff, etc.) must complete a health screening upon arrival covering a variety of symptoms including temperature/fever and declaration of whether an individual has ‘known close contact (in the past 14 days) with a person who is lab confirmed to have COVID-19.’ Per TEA requirements, any individual who does not pass the screening may not enter/participate.
Additional requirements must be met, and will be communicated as needed to graduates and families as well as presenters and staff/volunteers.
Odem-Edroy seniors will hold their graduation ceremony at 8 p.m. at Owl Stadium, 1000 Cook Ave. in Odem.
OEISD will follow the guidance criteria listed for Outdoor In-Person Ceremonies released by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
Graduates will be allowed five guests who will be screened using a COVID-19 questionnaire. Groups must arrive together and will have assigned seating. Individuals not in a group will not be allowed into the stadium. Groups will be escorted to their assigned seating and be escorted from stadium and will require to wear a facemask.
Guests are asked to practice social distancing and keep six feet between participants, except for same household groups. Hand sanitizer will be provided at entrance of stadium.
OEISD said they will make every effort to ensure the safety of attendees. All students and guests are required to comply with OEISD guidance procedures. Anyone refusing to comply will be escorted off the premises.
Mathis High School
Mathis seniors will hold their graduation at 8 p.m. at Pirate Stadium, 1615 E. San Patricio Ave. in Mathis.
No guidelines were released for the graduation ceremony by time of publication.
Taft High School
Taft seniors will hold their graduation at 8 p.m. in Greyhound Stadium, 815 Victoria Ave. in Taft.
No guidelines were released by time of publication.