Fort Bend ISD considers shifting to outdoor June graduations

Although previously deciding to hold in-person graduation ceremonies at the Smart Financial Centre in July, Fort Bend ISD is now considering the possibility of in-person outdoor ceremonies in June. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Although previously deciding to hold in-person graduation ceremonies at the Smart Financial Centre in July, Fort Bend ISD is now considering the possibility of in-person outdoor ceremonies in June. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Although previously deciding to hold in-person graduation ceremonies at the Smart Financial Centre in July, Fort Bend ISD is now considering the possibility of in-person outdoor ceremonies in June. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

At the May 11 Fort Bend ISD board of trustees meeting, Superintendent Charles Dupre asked the board for feedback on potentially having outdoor graduation ceremonies in June.

Dupre said when considering this option, FBISD staff looked at the benefits of having a graduation ceremony as soon as safely possible and also the health risks potentially associated with gathering at an indoor venue in July.

“[District leadership] looked at our priorities as bringing closure for the class of 2020 as soon as possible and that means being able to honor our graduates before they begin going into the military or away to college or other post-high school opportunities in late June and July,” Dupre said.

This consideration comes nearly a week after the Texas Education Agency issued guidelines stating with the proper distancing and screening requirements, all districts can begin holding in-person outdoor graduation ceremonies beginning June 1.

Previously, the district had announced that graduation ceremonies would take place over three days—July 19-21— at the Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land.



Dupre said if the district decides to move ceremonies outdoors, they will most likely be held over five to six days during the first or second week of June.

Additionally, Dupre said district staff considered multiple area outdoor venues but decided at 9,200 seats FBISD Hall Stadium in Missouri City would be the best option and allow proper social distancing of graduates and family. Still, Dupre said for the district’s larger high schools, graduates will probably be limited to four guests each.

Trustee Kristin Tassin, whose daughter, Sarah, graduates from Ridge Point High School this year, said it is important to her to have a guaranteed way to celebrate FBISD seniors.

“I feel like sooner is better than later,” Tassin said. “I think having virtually no audience at Smart Financial to try to socially distance the students is not a good scenario. I think risking a virtual graduation is really not a good scenario. I feel like having something outdoors where we can control it, even if we have to limit tickets and distance the kids and distance the audience just seems like a better plan in my mind as a parent and as a trustee trying to ensure that all these kids get to have a graduation.”

While all members of the board expressed support for moving the graduations to June, trustee Grayle James raised concerns about the safety and logistics of a socially distanced graduation.

“I think it's a tremendous amount of logistics to figure out how to get people in and out of the stadium, students in and out, set up the rules, etc.,” James said. “I want closure also. But I also want safety for staff and for students. I don't want to cause harm.”

District staff said they are looking into their contract with the Smart Financial Centre to determine if there will be any cancellation fees or if payment can be rolled over to future events.

Amanda Bubela, FBISD’s director of external communications and media relations, said she expects the district to make a formal decision regarding graduation within a week or so.

By Claire Shoop
Claire joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2019 as the reporter for the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2019 where she studied journalism, government and Arabic. While in school, Claire was a fellow for The Texas Tribune, worked for the student newspaper, The Daily Texan, and spent a semester in Washington, D.C. She enjoys playing cards with her family and listening to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.


MOST RECENT

Taco Bueno sells tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos and more unique items, including the Muchaco, a taco made with a soft pita-like shell. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Taco Bueno coming to Katy and more Houston-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Homeowners who apply could be eligible to receive over $600 back from the city. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Sugar Land City Council approves rebate program for residential generator installations

Homeowners who apply could be eligible to receive over $600 back from the city

Graphic by Chase Brooks/Community Impact Newspaper
Fort Bend ISD expands on-campus mental health services

FBISD has six full-time mental health counselors who serve every campus in the district, and outside providers also offer services at select schools.

The 2014-29 plan is meant to guide city departments and staff in application of its resources, according to city documents. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
Missouri City City Council OKs updated strategic plan

The 2014-29 plan is meant to guide city departments and staff in application of its resources, according to city documents.

Hwy. 6 in Sugar Land is being expanded from six to eight lanes between Lexington Boulevard and Brooks Street. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
Construction on Hwy. 6 expansion project to be complete by mid-June, TxDOT says

The project will expand Hwy. 6 in Sugar Land from six to eight lanes from Lexington Boulevard to Brooks Street.

Economist Elliot Eisenberg spoke about the economic recovery post-pandemic, saying this year's GDP growth will be the best since the 1950s. (Brooke Ontiveros/Community Impact Newspaper)
Economist explains housing demand, price booms in Texas, Greater Houston area

Eisenberg explained why home prices are rising at a June 9 Greater Houston Builders Association luncheon.

Several Sugar Land City Council members participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the road and trail on May 27. (Courtesy city of Sugar Land)
Road, trail connecting Memorial Park and Brazos River Park opens in Sugar Land

The $2.3 million project provides continuous access to 420 acres of park land along the Brazos River and 9.5 miles of trails.

With a Sugar Land location, First Colony Aquatic and Rehabilitation Center offers primarily orthopedic, outpatient rehabilitation treatment. (Laura Aebi/Community Impact Newspaper)
First Colony Aquatic and Rehabilitation Center takes the weight off patients

Aquatic therapy, which occurs in a pool, takes undue stress and weight off of a patient’s joints.

Missouri City City Council gave preliminary approval to renaming Vicksburg neighborhood street Confederate Drive as Prosperity Drive. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
Missouri City City Council gives initial approval to rename Confederate Drive

Located in the Vicksburg subdivision, the new street name will tentatively be named Prosperity Drive.

As of March 31, a total of 686 businesses have participated in the Fort Bend County Entrepreneur initiative. (Courtesy Carter Brothers)
Fort Bend Entrepreneur initiative provides assistance to hundreds of small businesses

Nearly 700 Fort Bend County businesses have received free one-on-one coaching designed to help them stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic through the county's Fort Bend Entrepreneur program.

Consumers will receive vouchers to participating local businesses in return for buying gift cards from any Sugar Land business. (Courtesy city of Sugar Land)
Sweet Cash program returns to Sugar Land

Consumers will receive vouchers to participating local businesses in return for buying gift cards from any Sugar Land business.