As Eanes ISD students approach the end of the 2019-20 school year May 22, modifications to the traditional end-of-year celebrations are underway.
EISD remains closed per orders issued by Gov. Greg Abbott; however, the district’s six principals are coordinating efforts to arrange virtual celebrations at each grade level.
Prior to the extended closure announcement, EISD officials overviewed a variety of graduation options for the class of 2020 during an April 15 board meeting.
A virtual ceremony will take palace May 28, according to Westlake High School Principal Steve Ramsey, who says the event will be recorded for students and families.
An additional date was established for an in-person ceremony at Austin’s Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center. This event is slated for Aug. 7 in the event that a larger gathering can take place late in the summer.
Westlake High School students recently participated in a virtual spirit week beginning April 25. An online college singing day and senior send-off celebration took place the same week.
Plans have also been put in place for middle school students, according to Hill Country Middle School Principal Susan Fambrough. Those events are set to take place in-person when it is safe to gather in groups.
“Fifth-graders will be honored and celebrated to the best of our ability when it’s safe together again,” Fambrough said.
End-of-year events such as yearbook signing day will be coordinated at a later date.
Ramsey noted a celebratory slideshow will also be organized to honor the eighth-graders entering Westlake High School. In-person celebrations will take place for that grade level when it is deemed safe by health officials.
The district is also organizing a system for students and staff to retrieve belongings from the district. Students will also have to return school property such as digital tablets to campus.
According to Chief Operations Officer Jeremy Trimble, those plans will vary on the elementary, middle and high school levels.
Elementary school families will be able to pick up belongings through a central location, likely through drive-thru service, in the first week of June.
“Over the next few Fridays on the professional flex days, teachers will come in on a staggered schedule to pack up those items into bags that will be delivered to a centralized location,” Trimble said.
The process will be very similar for middle school students, Trimble said, adding that items such as athletic equipment and instruments will need to be returned to the district.
All grades except graduating seniors will not return digital tablets provided by EISD.
“Freshman through juniors are going to keep what they have right now,” Trimble noted. “We’re more focused on the seniors.”
Seniors will have the opportunity to retrieve graduation materials such as yearbooks, caps and gowns. According to Trimble, there will be a coordinated event to do so during the last week of May.
“We’ve identified what logistics we need to work around,” Trimble said.
Principals will be communicating the plan with staff and community members.