By DAVID LOPEZ
SAN BENITO—School districts across Cameron County are announcing plans for their graduation ceremonies, many choosing outdoor in-person events.
Last Thursday, the San Benito Consolidated Independent School District announced via its Facebook page that they would be holding the Class of 2020’s graduation ceremony on Friday, June 12, at 7:30 p.m. at Bobby Morrow Stadium.
The inclement weather (“rain delay”) plan is to hold the ceremony on Saturday, June 13, at 9 a.m.
According to the district, officials are currently outlining protocols to ensure the safety and health of graduates, staff, and guests. The district will provide all graduates and their families with the information once all the details have been determined. Unfortunately, due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, these plans are subject to change.
TEA guidance lists several requirements for school districts considering in-person ceremonies, including face coverings, structured crowd management with tightly structured arrival and dismissal procedures, social distancing throughout the event, and health screening of everyone in attendance (via questionnaire).
Brownsville Independent School District was the first district in Cameron County to announce they were holding a live-in graduation ceremony last Tuesday, May 5, following Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath’s decision to approve outdoor in-person ceremonies.
Other school districts in the county have since followed suit, including Los Fresnos CISD and La Feria ISD.
Rio Hondo ISD is also holding an in-person graduation ceremony on June 5 at 8 p.m. at the Bobcat Stadium.
Rio Hondo High School principal Asael Ruvalcaba said they are fortunate to have only 136 graduates compared to the bigger school districts, allowing them to issue four guests per graduate. “We’re going to skip bleachers between rows of people, we’re going to have families on both sides of the stadium, all must wear a mask, we’ll have hand sanitizing stations,” said Principal Ruvalcaba.
Port Isabel ISD have not made official announcements regarding in-person graduation, school administrators have met several times to discuss plans. Sources say there are tentative plans to hold an in-person graduation ceremony on May 29 at Tarpon Stadium.
Meanwhile, Harlingen CISD has maintained virtual graduations for both Harlingen High and Harlingen South High School scheduled for May 23 while an outdoor in-person ceremony is tentatively scheduled for July 15.
Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the May 15–21, 2020 issue of the NEWS.