Texas may be back open, but this year’s spring graduations are still affected by public health protocols.
Ceremonies for colleges and high schools are just around the corner. Some events are scheduled to take place in-person with full capacity attendance, while others will take place completely online.
Texas A&M’s College Station campus will host the largest number of ceremonies in the school’s history, according to the university. Between May 8 and May 21, a total of 26 ceremonies will be held at Reed Arena.
Each graduate can invite up to eight guests, but social distancing will be enforced. Refusal to wear a mask could result in removal by security. Additionally, students will not enter the arena floor through a processional.
"We think that by limiting the time that we’re in the indoor facility and the ceremony’s length, we’ll be able to move people in and out of the facility very efficiently and limit the kind of close contact that we know makes this virus really lethal," said Chad Wootton, vice president of external affairs at Texas A&M's Office of the Provost.
Conversely, Blinn College’s graduation will be completed virtually, streamed May 13 on the district's YouTube channel. Certificates and diplomas will be mailed out later in the month.
For high schools, scenarios vary. Bryan ISD's four high schools will graduate on four separate days in May, with each ceremony being held at Merrill Green Stadium.
“We’re requiring masks inside the stadium for our visitors, and what we’ve done is broken the entire stadium down into pods of eight," said Brian Merrell, executive director of school leadership for Bryan ISD. "So as a family structure, [you'll] have a group of eight. And then we’ve implemented what the CDC has said – three feet [of distance]. So we’ve done that and been able to get more tickets.”
Guests can attend in-person with a ticket, or watch live through the district's Facebook and YouTube accounts.
For College Station ISD, A&M Consolidated High School will host their commencement in person on May 29 at Tigerland Stadium. College Station High School will have their ceremony the day prior, May 28, at Cougar Field.
No tickets are required, and full capacity attendance will be allowed at both school ceremonies. Officials are instructing guests to wear face masks.
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