Dallas ISD graduates celebrate graduation ‘in person with their peers, families’

Dallas ISD graduates celebrate graduation ‘in person with their peers, families’_60f1ccc0eadab.jpeg

The Dallas Independent School District (ISD) is returning to in-person graduation ceremonies.

“After a challenging year due to COVID-19, the Class of 2021 will have the opportunity to celebrate graduation in person with their peers and families,” the district announced June 7.

The district said attendance will be limited to ensure social distancing and all graduations will be streamed on the district’s social media platforms as well.

Robyn Harris, the district’s director of news and information, told the Dallas Express there will be 37 graduation ceremonies. Graduates will be issued eight tickets for family members and friends.

Harris said the resumption of in-person graduation isn’t really a change as there were no plans in place for any other kind of ceremony. In 2020, as the pandemic was spreading across the nation and state, commencement ceremonies were held in a virtual setting.

Dallas ISD asked people to step outside their homes from 7 to 7:10 p.m. May 21, 2020, to recognize the Class of 2020 with a “districtwide ovation.” This year the applause will be heard loud and clear by the graduates.

The 37 graduation ceremonies will be held with graduates and guests allowed. Harris said after studying COVID-19 trends and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the plan was unveiled.

Harris said although considerations will be made to ensure health and safety, including asking guests to self-screen for COVID-19, requesting mask-wearing, enforcing social distancing and providing sanitation stations, the decision was made to hold the traditional ceremonies in the usual fashion.

She said it is “fitting” that seniors and their families and friends can celebrate such an important milestone in the traditional fashion.

The first ceremony was at 6:30 p.m. June 11, with James Madison seniors becoming alumni at Ellis Davis Field House. Commencements will continue through June 22, with Townview High School holding the final ceremony, if all goes as planned.

There are alternative dates in case of inclement weather, Harris said.

The busiest day for graduations was June 12 with eight ceremonies. On the following Saturday, June 19, six graduations are scheduled.

Harris said Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa cannot attend all the ceremonies but other district officials will attend as well.

Harris said there are 8,653 seniors in the district. As of June 10, 86% were on track to graduate by the end of the semester. Harris said last year’s graduation rate was 88%, and the district hopes to match or exceed that when classes are dismissed for the summer.

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