Before Gov. Greg Abbott’s press conference, the Aledo ISD board of trustees held a special meeting to hear information about graduation and summer programs.
“Graduation is something that is very important to all of us and we are working on planning what graduation might look like,” AISD Superintendent Susan K. Bohn said. “We are looking forward to creating a special and unique experience for graduation. It will certainly be different, but we’re going to work as hard as we possibly can to make it special. Of course, we are working on some other surprises for them related to honoring them as a community.”
Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath announced Tuesday afternoon, during Abbott’s COVID-19 press conference update, guidelines for school districts to hold social distancing graduations.
“We are publishing [Tuesday] guidance that will allow high school graduations and in fact end of year promotion ceremonies, kindergarten graduation ceremonies, to occur in schools, subject to certain constraints,” Morath said. “When you think about the way graduation ceremonies could potentially proceed in our current context, we have a huge number of school system leaders that have actively been preparing for virtual graduation ceremonies — imagine 5,000 people on a Zoom call — and that has been approved for some time. One type of school ceremony, which many school systems have expressed an interest in [is] a hybrid ceremony where students come in one at a time, the photo is taken, perhaps a short video of them, that’s put together as a seamless video ceremony that can then be streamed as a group, but remote activity. So hybrid ceremonies are approved, subject to certain constraints, as well as vehicle ceremonies.”
Morath said outdoor ceremonies will be allowed, but must meet current social distancing requirements.
“Education as an endeavor for high school students is something that they have spent 13 years of their lives on with educators pouring love and skill into them over the course of their educational career,” Morath said. “It is important that we honor that achievement as they begin to make a transition into the next phase in life. We are excited to create guidance that does maintain health and safety for all of our community members and all of our participants while also honoring students and celebrating the achievements that they have made.”
Bohn said with graduation scheduled to be held on June 1, she would like to announce the district’s plan within the next week.
Details about graduation ceremonies can be found by visit the Texas Education Agency website at tea.texas.gov.
Bohn said the district is also waiting on guidance from the state on summer activities including summer school and camps.
“The issue on that is we don’t have a lot of guidance on what we may or may not be able to engage in over the summer, so we’re thinking about this for summer school, for services for students with special needs, we’re thinking about all our summer camps — all athletic camps, we have teachers that put on art camps, theater camps, cooking camps and things like that. We also have outside vendors who come in and use our facilities to provide camps in the community so what we’re telling those folks right now, and the parents who are wondering what the opportunities might be this summer, is that we don’t know yet,” Bohn said. “We are also getting some requests for use of our outdoor facilities by youth sports organizations and I have also been telling them that we just don’t know the answer to that yet. We anticipate we will get guidance about summer programming from the state, but we don’t know for sure.”
The Aledo ISD board of trustees are scheduled to hold another virtual special meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday for further discussion.