Following Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement Tuesday, Princeton ISD has made the decision to alter graduation plans to hold a live ceremony at Jackie Hendricks Stadium on Saturday, June 6.
The new plan replaces a recorded ceremony that was to air in drive-in movie fashion May 28 at Jackie Hendricks Stadium.
Because of requirements issued by Texas Education Agency, districts are limited to only one graduation event, so plans for the virtual graduation have been canceled.
“I know we promised two ceremonies, one virtual now and one live later, but this is no longer a possibility because of TEA requirements,” PISD Superintendent Philip Anthony said. “We believe the new option we’ve selected is what is better for the majority of our graduates and most closely resembles our regular graduation.”
To adhere to the guidance to maintain social distancing, Princeton High School’s graduation event will be split into two ceremonies, which will be divided by alphabet. The first commencement will be at 2 p.m. for seniors whose last name begins with A-K, followed by the second at 7 p.m. for graduates with a last name beginning with L-Z.
With the new requirements issued by TEA, only five guests per graduate can attend graduation.
“According to TEA, they are only allowing five people per student, no matter what type of ceremony is held,” Anthony said. “So regardless of which route we took, the limit on guests was going to be changed to five.”
Students will be issued a ticket for admission for their five guests, and tickets will not be transferrable because it has the potential to violate social distancing guidelines. Guests of each graduate need to enter the stadium together to be seated.
In addition, each guest will be screened at the gate for symptoms of COVID-19, which includes cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, fever or known close contact with a person confirmed with COVID-19 (as determined by CDC guidelines).
To accommodate families and friends who are unable to attend, the graduation ceremonies will have a live stream. The district is offering this service so other members of the family can watch from home.
“We believe this plan gives our students the better opportunity to experience a true graduation,” Anthony said. “And we want this to be the fitting recognition they deserve for their 13 years of education.”
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By Jean Ann Collins • [email protected]