COVID-19 Update: Virtual Graduations in Texas

Posted by Texas OnCourse on May 7, 2020 6:24:53 PM

This week we're talking about how Texas high schools can hold graduation ceremonies in the era of COVID-19.

As we enter what should be an exciting time for our high school seniors – graduation season – we know it’s tough for you and for your students to miss out on the traditional rite of passage. TEA has released new guidance on the things schools can and cannot do to recognize their seniors as they move on to their next stage of life. We’ll summarize the guidance for you; look for a link for the full doc in the comments.

Most schools will likely opt for a virtual event. You do not need to obtain approval for a virtual ceremony. TEA shares some fun ideas for a virtual ceremony in this document.

TEA also addresses the option of compiling a video of students filmed individually or in small groups to create a virtual graduation ceremony. This sort of ceremony may proceed as of May 15, with important stipulations. You’ll need to comply with executive orders and guidelines as well as local plans. TEA and the governor’s office also suggest you first consult with your legal counsel regarding such planned activities. Read the full TEA document for more fine print. 

Some schools may be interested in a graduation ceremony with graduates and their families participating from their cars. You can proceed with this sort of ceremony as of May 15, though it must comply with relevant executive orders and guidelines. Again, consult with your legal counsel first, and be sure to read all fine print.

Schools may be able to hold an outdoor ceremony on or after May 29, though this is subject to change based on public health conditions.

Some rural counties will be permitted to hold an outdoor ceremony between May 15 and May 28. To see if your county qualifies, check out Governor Abbott’s Report to Open Texas.

Indoor in-person ceremonies are not currently permitted under public health guidance. 

That’s all for today. Best of luck to your seniors, and we’ll see you next week!

*Please note, this is a transcript of a Facebook Live video that aired on 5/7/20. Watch it here.

Topics: Coronavirus, High School