The Wills Point High School Class of 2020 has missed out on plenty of experiences and landmarks traditionally associated with their final spring semester, seeing events cancelled, altered or delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the unusual situation, Wills Point ISD administrators have worked feverishly to ensure that the school year can end with some sense of normalcy when it comes to commencement exercises.
The WPISD issued an update on their ongoing discussions last week explaining: “We know you are anxiously awaiting the plans for graduation. Communication has been taking place with your fellow classmates, teachers, and district administration in regards to planning graduation. Multiple options have been discussed to ensure all possibilities are covered. Please understand that this is a difficult decision to make and we want to make the right one during this time of uncertainty.
“The top priority is the health and safety of all involved, as well as trying to honor the suggestions given to us by the members of the senior class. Hopefully, we will have some guidance from the Commissioner of Education on the restrictions that schools will have to follow to honor our graduates early next week.
“Soon after these restrictions are provided to schools, we will set a date and provide details on the graduation ceremony. Your patience and understanding has been greatly appreciated throughout these challenging times.”
Other area schools
Wills Point is not the lone area school searching for a way to end the school year in a traditional manner as both Canton and Van have discussed their own plans to deal with the uncertainties brought about by the coronavirus and potential social distancing guidelines in recent weeks.
CISD Superintendent Brian Nichols recently stated, “Canton ISD is working on graduation plans for our 2020 seniors and is awaiting guidance from Governor Abbott, Commissioner Mike Morath, and the Texas Education Agency. At this time, graduation is still scheduled for Friday, May 22. We have scheduled backup dates of June 19 and July 10 in the event we are unable to hold graduation as originally scheduled. We remain committed to providing our seniors with the recognition they have earned and deserve.”
Van ISD is among the local schools with the most definitive plans as of press time, tabbing either June 5 or June 26 as the date of their planned commencement exercises.
At the most recent Van ISD board meeting Superintendent Don Dunn explained, “We discussed everything from a virtual graduation to a parade graduation and lots of other options in between. Among the people that I have met with, three of those individuals have graduating seniors themselves. This means a lot to them. The bottom line of our meeting was if we can find a way to have a graduation ceremony at the football stadium, that is the way we want to go. As a last resort, we can look at doing something virtual or have a parade but our first priority is to try to have a normal graduation ceremony where the graduates can wear their caps and gowns and walk across the stage just like every other Van High School graduate has done in the past.”
Van, which hosts its graduation at Vandal Memorial Stadium, is currently working on a plan to spread graduates at six to 10 feet intervals on the field while also opening up both the home and visitor side stands to accommodate attendees. Plans also call for their attendance to be limited with those entering the stadium needing to wear masks.