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EPISD unveils guidelines, plans for commencement ceremonies

(EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT -- May 22, 2020) — The El Paso Independent School District will have outdoor commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020 in June to celebrate the accomplishments of high-school seniors while remaining compliant with local and CDC guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The District received approval from the City of El Paso to move forward with its plan to have outdoor graduation ceremonies for all high schools at three different stadiums on June 15-20. The change in dates reflects state and local allowance to have ceremonies sooner, and to all the majority of students an opportunity to participate before moving on to their next plans.

The ceremonies will impose rules that must be followed by participating students and guests.

“We are happy to be able to provide our high-school seniors with a ceremony that celebrates their accomplishments,” Superintendent Juan E. Cabrera said. “We know these ceremonies will be different from our traditional graduations, but we’re confident that they will provide our graduates with the opportunity to close their high-school career in the company of their classmates.”

The schedule for graduations is:

  • June 15 at El Paso High stadium: CCTA at 9 a.m. and El Paso High at 8 p.m.
  • June 16 at Franklin High stadium: Transmountain Early College at 9 a.m. and Irvin at 8 p.m.
  • June 17 at Franklin High stadium: Franklin at 9 a.m. and Coronado at 8 p.m.
  • June 18 at Franklin High stadium: Chapin at 9 a.m. and Andress at 8 p.m.
  • June 19 at Bowie High stadium: Burges at 9 a.m. and Austin at 8 p.m.
  • June 20 at Bowie High stadium: Jefferson/Silva at 9 a.m. and Bowie at 8 p.m.

The three stadiums were selected because of capacity to allow for social distancing and parking capabilities for guests.

To promote a healthy and safe environment for graduates and attendees, the District has implemented the following rules and regulations that will be followed without exception:

  • Each graduate will be given two guests tickets that must be presented at the door. All ceremonies will be livestreamed on
  • Face masks will be required for anyone in attendance. Graduates will be allowed to remove their facemask as they walk the stage.
  • Social distancing for graduates on the field and guests in the stands will be enforced.
  • Health Services staff will conduct temperature checks of participating graduates and staff members. Anyone with a fever will be denied entrance into the stadium.
  • Guests are allowed to bring a bottle of water, but no coolers are allowed.
  • Stadiums seats will be allowed. Umbrellas are not allowed.
  • Graduates and guests will be released from the ceremony at staggered times to facilitate social distancing and discourage gatherings

Media will be allowed to cover the events. However, they must provide notice in advance and check in with EPISD’s Office of Community Engagement upon arrival. Social distancing must be observed. 

Story by Gustavo Reveles