Posted Date: 05/08/2020
Dear Parents and Students of Livingston ISD Graduating Class of 2020,
Late yesterday on our biweekly superintendent conference with Texas Education Agency Commissioner of Education Mike Morath a change was made in the guidance provided to school districts across the state in regards to when outdoor in-person graduation ceremonies may take place. The previous guidance would not allow ceremonies conducive to our original graduation date. In light of this change announced today by the Texas Education Agency, Livingston High School Academy will hold its graduation on Friday, May 29th at 7:30 pm at Lion Stadium. Livingston High School will hold its graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 30th at 9:00 am at Lion Stadium. (The district has alternate plans in case of a rainout.) This change is being made in the best interest of the Class of 2020 in considering correspondence from the Texas Education Agency stating, “this permission is subject to change as underlying health conditions change.” The district has split the two campus ceremonies in order to comply with Executive Order No. GA-21, district legal guidance, and local code jurisdictions.
The District is excited for the Class of 2020 to have been afforded this opportunity and while it absolutely is not the best of circumstances the celebration of 13 years of these young people's lives is one that we will have to abide by the laws and regulations set forth to make the best of this situation for them. These young people have had many experiences robbed for them and the opportunity to bring closure yet at the same time start the next step of their lives in becoming the best versions of themselves in their future endeavors is worthy of our patience and flexibility. These young people have made history as being a class that faced tremendous adversity and persevered. This just may have prepared them as much as anything for a successful future.
Dr. Paul Drake will be releasing information in the coming days to both students and parents in digital form that will detail the exact procedures for graduation. Students need to ensure that their assignments are turned in by May 15th as we want all students to have the opportunity to participate in graduation. Students and Parents will need to regularly check your email to ensure that you are able to view Dr. Drake’s videos and receive this much-needed information.
Further information about this ceremony to comply with the requirements:
The district has capped the total number of participants due to the size of Livingston High School Class of 2020 (212 students) to comply with social distancing both during the event and during entry and exit of the facility. This event will be closed to the public and only the participants and families with their ticket may enter.
Prior to attending the ceremony, participating students and attending family members shall be screened (via questioning) during the ticket pick up time that Dr. Drake will explain for any new or worsening symptoms of possible COVID-19. Those found with any of these signs or symptoms must be excluded from the ceremony.
Graduates will only be brought together for one event as rehearsals are not permitted. This makes it crucial to receive your information from Dr. Drake for both students and their families.
Six foot or more spacing will be maintained between all participants except members from the same household (five individuals or fewer may sit together from the same household) but must stay 6 feet away from any other family group at all times. We will only have the capacity for a family group of five to receive tickets. This places our facility at capacity and meets the standard set by guidance. The district is contracting with a professional vendor to stream the ceremony for those that can not attend or are not attending because they are in an at-risk group. Seating will be randomly assigned and information from you will be needed to ensure that we have working numbers to contact you as well as meet any needs of those with disabilities in the family group.
Hand sanitizer or wash stations will be available at all facility entrances.
School personnel and law enforcement will be limited to the minimum number needed to logistically support the ceremony.
Diplomas can not be handed from one person to another unless gloves are worn to distribute the diplomas. Students will handle their diploma from a table on stage and proceed to their picture with a school official.
We ask that you consider wearing non-medical grade face masks but this is not a mandate. The district has ordered the students' masks if they so choose to wear them except when photos are taken. The district will also purchase your student an 8x10 photo so we ask that no one from the family approaches the rail in the stands to take pictures.
We have numerous other ways to limit documents and awards that will be outlined in the video to come.
School personnel and law enforcement will be stationed to ensure we are in compliance with the order and limit the congregation of family groups. There will be information coming to ensure the organization prevents the congregation of family groups outside of the ceremony as well. This includes entering and exiting the facility.
It is a privilege for students to be a part of the graduation ceremony and it is not mandatory for them to participate.
We appreciate you sharing your student with us and know that times like these forge the strength that we all draw from each other no matter how far apart we may seem. I will continue to work hard to make this graduation as safe yet special for the Class of 2020 as legally possible. I thank you for your support and patience as we focus on these graduates in this unprecedented time.
Dr. Brent E. Hawkins
Superintendent of Schools