With no state guidance yet, San Antonio area school districts are planning in-person graduation ceremonies for the class of 2021 that include mandatory masks and social distancing practices.
The coronavirus pandemic scrambled school districts’ graduation plans last year, with some districts holding outdoor ceremonies and others staging staggered ceremonies on high school campuses, virtual ceremonies, and graduation parades.
This year, most school districts are using the Alamodome as their graduation site this school year, although some districts opted to use their own outdoor stadiums. The Texas Education Agency has not released guidance on graduation ceremonies, but that could change in the coming weeks.
Last year, the TEA encouraged districts to consider making all attendees wear face coverings, positioning hand sanitizer or hand-washing stations at all venue entrances, and enforcing a 6-foot space requirement between all participants and households. That guidance came after Gov. Greg Abbott allowed school districts to hold outdoor-only ceremonies.
School districts are not limited to outdoor venues this school year after Abbott lifted many restrictions put in place at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Like last year, most still plan to require masks and enforce social distancing.
San Antonio ISD
Graduation ceremonies for all San Antonio Independent School District seniors will be held outdoors at Alamo Stadium in June. The district will require attendees to wear masks and sit 6 feet from other guests. Families will receive six tickets each.
All Northside ISD high schools will hold their graduation ceremonies at the Alamodome, except Health Careers High School. Seniors at Health Careers will receive their diplomas at the NISD Sports Gym. All ceremonies will be in June, and attendees must wear masks. Each graduate will receive six tickets for guests. NISD will livestream all ceremonies on its website.
North East ISD
North East ISD seniors also will walk the stage at the Alamodome, with ceremonies held over Memorial Day weekend. Masks are required, and guests grouped by graduate will sit together throughout the stadium for social distancing purposes. Families will receive six tickets apiece. NEISD will livestream each graduation.
Alamo Heights ISD
Alamo Heights High School seniors will graduate at the Real Life Amphitheater in Selma on May 27 at 7 p.m. Each graduate will receive six tickets for guests.
Harlandale ISD will celebrate its graduates with ceremonies at Memorial Stadium and the Alamodome. Frank Tejeda Academy and STEM Early College High School seniors will walk the stage at Memorial Stadium on May 25. McCollum and Harlandale High School seniors will receive their diplomas at the Alamodome on June 1 and 2, respectively.
The school district will require all attendees to wear masks and social distance at both facilities. While there is no ticket limit per graduate at the Alamodome, groups must sit in pods, but guests likely will be split up if more than six tickets are requested.
Graduates of Southside ISD will walk the stage at the Alamodome on June 3. All attendees must wear masks and social distance, but the school district has not determined whether it will limit the number of tickets each senior receives, district spokesman Randy Escamilla said. SISD will notify graduates of its decision in the next few weeks.
East Central ISD
East Central High School also has not decided how many tickets each graduate will receive for its May 29 ceremony at the Alamodome. Tickets will be assigned in socially distanced pods of six, four, and two people, as required by the venue, district spokesman Brandon Oliver said. All attendees must wear masks and have a preprinted ticket in hand to enter.
Other school districts have announced where they plan to hold graduation ceremonies, but some details have yet to be determined.
Edgewood ISD plans to hold graduation ceremonies at Veterans Stadium. Memorial High seniors will walk the stage June 15 at 8 p.m., and John F. Kennedy High seniors will follow on June 16 at 8 p.m. District spokeswoman Keyhla Lugo-Calderon said other details, such as ticket information, will be finalized in the next week.
Judson ISD’s Veterans Memorial High School will hold its graduation ceremony at Rutledge Stadium on May 27 at 7:30 p.m. Wagner High graduates will walk the stage at Rutledge on May 28 at the same time, and Judson Early College Academy seniors will graduate at 9 a.m. on May 28. Judson Learning Academy graduates will receive their diplomas May 29 at 9 a.m., and Judson High seniors will follow at 7:30 p.m.
South San Antonio High School will celebrate its graduates June 2 at the Alamodome at 9 a.m. Each senior will receive up to 12 tickets, but guests must sit in pods of six, four, or two people.