Officials: Leander ISD graduations will happen—but they may be virtual

Leander High School's 2019 graduation is pictured. (Courtesy Leander ISD)
Leander High School's 2019 graduation is pictured. (Courtesy Leander ISD)

Leander High School's 2019 graduation is pictured. (Courtesy Leander ISD)

Leander ISD’s six high school principals met April 15 to discuss local graduation scenarios and participated in an April 16 web conference to learn graduation plans across the state, according to a senior LISD administrator.

Area superintendent John Graham said at LISD’s April 16 meeting that the principals of Cedar Park, Glenn, Leander, Rouse, Vandegrift and Vista Ridge High schools met remotely and discussed different graduation possibilities, which included delaying the ceremonies, still scheduled May 28-30 at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, or holding virtual graduations online.

Regardless of what is decided, administrators agreed that some sort of ceremony—be it on the original date, postponed or virtual—needs to be held to recognize the district’s Class of 2020.

“It’s something they’ve earned,” Graham told the board.

LISD administrators expect further direction from Gov. Greg Abbott’s press conference at noon April 17.

The state has suspended normal operations until May 4. Williamson County has a shelter-in-place order until May 4, while Austin/Travis County’s is until May 8.

“If [Abbott] closes school for the rest of the year, that means we won’t have graduation [ceremonies in person],” Graham said. “We haven’t canceled any May activities yet.”

Trustee Aaron Johnson recommended the LISD be prepared to move quickly with graduation plans, whatever form they take.

“The timing of our graduation is preeminent,” he said. “I would recommend that we’re prepared to move pretty quickly on alternatives.”

Trustees Pam Waggoner and Johnson advised against postponing the ceremony into the summer. Later ceremonies would not have the attendance or the participation, they said.

“The closer to summer you get, some of these students are getting off to college,” Waggoner said. “It just becomes a different time.”

Graham said a combination of ceremonies was possible.

“We may have multiple types of ways to celebrate our students,” Graham said.

Graham said LISD’s high school principals will meet twice during April 20-24 and then submit proposals to Superintendent Bruce Gearing.