District staff worked with district principals and two focus groups of senior students and parents of seniors from Academy High, Plano East Senior High, Plano Senior High and Plano West Senior High to put together its plans for this year's graduating class. Brittnea Ussery, assistant director of communications, community engagement and events, detailed the plans for the PISD board of trustees during its meeting March 23.
“We're just not quite there to have just a totally normal ceremony,” Ussery said. “There's still the need for some safety protocols and procedures to be put in place.”
In addition to requiring masks for all attendees during the outdoor ceremonies, Ussery said Clark Stadium will allow graduates' chairs, participants on stage and guests to be socially distanced.
She presented plans for the four ceremonies to be held either in the mornings and evenings of June 4-5 or for the senior highs to have evening ceremonies on June 3-5 and Academy High to have its ceremony on the morning of June 5. The board members expressed their preference for evening ceremonies.
“It's our facility—we can do it for four nights in a row instead of three nights a row and have them all at night, if Academy [High] wants that,” trustee David Stolle said.
Stolle also suggested starting the ceremonies at 8 p.m. to help cut down on the amount of daytime heat attendees have to face. Ussery said the district plans to open the gates of the stadium 90 minutes before the ceremonies for the senior highs and 60 minutes before the beginning of Academy High’s graduation because of its size. All ceremonies will also be livestreamed or recorded for those unable to attend in person, she said.
Following the board’s feedback, Ussery said the district will next work to finalize dates and times for the ceremonies as well as safety guidelines. Once that is completed, she said district staff will share the final plan with campus administrators and graduating seniors so “they can move forward with their planning.”