Clear Creek ISD commencement plans uncertain in light of new TEA guidelines

Clear Creek ISD facilities are closed through the remainder of the academic year. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)
Clear Creek ISD facilities are closed through the remainder of the academic year. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)

Clear Creek ISD facilities are closed through the remainder of the academic year. (Jake Magee/Community Impact Newspaper)

The status of Clear Creek ISD’s commencement is unclear in light of new guidelines provided by the state last week for how school districts can hold and conduct virtual and in-person ceremonies.

At a board of trustees workshop May 12, Superintendent Greg Smith said that a few weeks ago, the district began its negotiations with NRG Stadium, which was announced as the 2020 commencement venue April 24. The negotiations are “still on hold,” he said, adding that a contract has not been signed. The deadline to do so is May 29, Smith said.

However, unless the Texas Education Agency extends its guidelines to include additional approved types of ceremonies, “there is no such thing as an indoor graduation ceremony” for CCISD this year, Smith said.

TEA guidelines permit completely virtual, hybrid and vehicle ceremonies as socially distant alternatives to the traditional indoor commencement. Outdoor, in-person ceremonies are also permitted, but with various restrictions. Smith said that hosting an outdoor ceremony that abides by these restrictions will cost more than holding the indoor ceremony at NRG.

“It’s not to say that in a month from now, there might be a change of mindset to allow indoor graduations,” Smith added.



Keeping the possibility of an indoor ceremony in mind, the district responded to the state’s latest rulings by asking for feedback from students, families and staff. CCISD graduates and families would be choosing between a completely virtual ceremony or an outdoor ceremony with the appropriate restrictions, Smith said at the meeting.

“We’re still on line for the indoor one, hoping the governor will change his mind, but the fallback is a virtual ceremony,” he said.

By Colleen Ferguson
A native central New Yorker, Colleen Ferguson worked as an editorial intern with the Cy-Fair and Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood editions of Community Impact before joining the Bay Area team in 2020. Colleen graduated from Syracuse University in 2019, where she worked for the campus's independent student newspaper The Daily Orange, with a degree in Newspaper and Online Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a degree in Spanish language and culture. Colleen previously interned with The Journal News/lohud, where she covered the commute in the greater New York City area.

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