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Graduation Ceremony Update

May 11, 2020

As we shared last week, upon receiving guidance last Wednesday, May 6, from Governor Abbott and the Texas Education Agency (TEA), Pearland ISD campus and district administrators have been working diligently to develop plans for in-person graduation ceremonies. Through our planning, we are strictly following the guidance and parameters from TEA for an outdoor graduation ceremony.

Some of the requirements from TEA for an outdoor graduation ceremony include (Click here for full requirements):

  • Limiting the number of participants to a level than can be managed in the outdoor venue to maximize social distancing, both during the event and during entry and exit.
  • Prior to the ceremony, participating students and family members must be screened (via questioning) by school district employees for any new or worsening signs or symptoms of possible COVID-19. Those found with any signs or symptoms must be excluded from the activity.
  • No graduation rehearsals permitted.
  • Keep six feet or more of spacing between all attendees, except that members of the same household may be allowed to sit together but must be six feet away from other family groups.
  • Gloves must be worn by those distributing diplomas.
  • Consistent with the actions taken by many institutions across the state, consider having all employees, students, or other visitors wear cloth face coverings (over the nose and mouth) while inside any facilities, or if they will come within six feet of another person who is not a member of that person’s household, except when photos are taken. If available, those in attendance should consider wearing non-medical grade face masks.
  • Care should be taken and effort must be made to mitigate virus exposure when participants come into contact with documents and other objects such as diplomas or awards.
  • School employees must be stationed appropriately to ensure compliance with all requirements and to limit congregation.
  • Assigned seating for members of the audience should be considered to efficiently ensure separation between household groups.
  • Specific plans will be developed for arrivals and departures to ensure appropriate social distancing.

 

While the district had a tentative date in July held for NRG Stadium, there was no assurance from the venue or TEA that we would be able to host an indoor ceremony by that time. More importantly, a late July date was less than desirable for many parents/graduates and problematic for those entering higher education, the military or the workforce.

As previously communicated, Pearland ISD will hold graduation ceremonies at Pearland ISD Stadium (3775 S. Main, Pearland, TX) on June 2 (Turner CCHS), June 3 (Dawson HS) and June 4 (Pearland HS), with each ceremony occurring at 7:30 p.m.

Due to construction and resulting safety limitations, we are unable to seat guests on the home side of the stadium.  Additionally, the visitor side of our stadium has limited seating. Therefore, the district has developed the following alternate plan to provide our graduates and parents with a graduation ceremony unlike any held before while also abiding by parameters from TEA and adhering to social distancing measures.

Each graduate and two parents/guests from the same household will be seated on the field together and distanced by six feet from the next graduate and their two parents/guests. We are seeking ways to allow for stand seating, but the limitations above must be adhered to.

The district will also provide a livestream option of each graduation ceremony for those who cannot attend.

We are currently working on the logistics for parking, and for entering and exiting the stadium to follow social distancing guidelines and keep everyone safe. Those will be shared soon.  We will continue to refine our plans to maximize the safety of all. 

Pearland ISD wants to provide the best experience for our students and their family within the parameters we must follow. Keeping these difficult challenges in mind, but also remembering that the safety and best interest of our students and their families is the top priority for our district, we ask for your grace and understanding during this unprecedented time. We look forward to honoring and celebrating our students!