After graduation tickets were handed out at the end of Sealy High School’s Senior Parade Wednesday evening, the high school announced a graduation update with the seating chart for tonight’s socially distant outdoor graduation ceremony.
Only those with a ticket from a member of the Class of 2020 will be allowed to enter T.J. Mills Stadium for the ceremony, according to guidelines put in place by Sealy High School, but anyone unable to attend can watch the ceremony live on The Sealy News’ Facebook page or listen live on the Sealy Tiger Sports Network starting at 8 p.m. tonight, May 22.
When Tex. Gov. Greg Abbott’s stay-home order expired on April 30, the Texas Education Agency released graduation guidelines on May 5 and said rural counties with five or fewer active cases of COVID-19 could hold socially distant outdoor ceremonies between May 15 and May 31.
Although Austin County Judge Tim Lapham announced as of Thursday the active case count in the county was six, that number wasn’t enough to hinder reopening plans and the four high schools in the county announced they will hold ceremonies on their previously scheduled dates.
Sealy is first and will hold its ceremony at 8 p.m. tonight at T.J. Mills Stadium, followed by Bellville and Brazos High Schools on May 29 before Faith Academy of Bellville’s on May 31.
Sealy High School has provided updates stating graduates received six tickets for friends and family and the guests will all enter a specific gate related to their ticketed seat, and be questioned for symptoms upon entry, and will remain in the stands until the ceremony concludes.
Principal Megan Oliver hosted a rehearsal video yesterday afternoon at the stadium where she reiterated guidelines and practiced with Sealy High School staff acting as the graduating class of 2020. That video can be found on the Sealy ISD YouTube page.
The Thursday evening update also provided the seating chart for where each ticketed guest will park, enter and sit in the stands of T.J. Mills Stadium.
In a May 15 update from Sealy High School, the following guidelines were also put in place.
- Stadium entrances, including parking lots, will open at 7:00 p.m. The ceremony will start at 8:00 p.m. It will take some time to enter the stadium, as social distancing and health related surveys must be in place. All students and guests will be screened (via questioning) for signs or symptoms of COVID-19. Those found with any signs or symptoms will not be admitted.
- In order to comply with capacity limits, each graduate will receive 2 parking passes and 6 tickets. Seating assignments must be adhered to and will be marked with ticket numbers. Each group of ticket holders will have an assigned time of entry through a specific gate. Only ticket holders will be admitted; all guests must present a ticket including children of all ages.
- Home side ticket holders will be assigned parking in the stadium lots. Visitor side ticket holders will use parking around the Old Gym, junior high front office parking, and the former intermediate school parking lots. Guests will receive color-coded tickets and parking passes indicating which gate to enter and which parking area to access. Maps of all ticket sections and parking areas will be included with tickets.
- Graduates must comply with dress code requirements to participate in the graduation ceremony. They may not bring any items on to the field including purses, cell phones, or car keys. No gum chewing is allowed on the field.
- Dress Code –Boys: long pants (slacks, khaki pants, no jeans). Collared dress shirt with tie. Closed-toed shoes or boots.
- Dress Code –Girls: dress, skirt, capris or slacks. Dress shoes/sandals-no spiked heels on the turf. No flip flops.
- Graduates may have cap on when entering the stadium but gown should be open to determine appropriate dress and no items in pockets.
- Graduates may not alter the cap or gown. Nothing can be written on or added. You may only wear the cords and/or NHS collar presented from SHS.
- Only graduates will be allowed on the field. No guests or family members on the turf at any time.
- In the event of rain, we will delay the ceremony as long as possible that evening.
- Graduation programs will be included in the senior packet the graduates will receive once they cross the stage. Additional programs will be placed at each seating assignment and will be available online to print. Diplomas and senior awards will also be included in the packet.
- Restrooms will only be available for one person at a time.
- At the conclusion of the ceremony, all guests must remain seated. As per social distancing guidelines, guests will be carefully released by section. They must exit through the same gate entered and must proceed directly to their vehicles. Guests may wait for their graduate inside of their vehicles, but they must leave once the graduate arrives. No congregating or picture-taking of any kind will be allowed at any time per health and safety guidelines.
- No balloons will be allowed in the stadium.
- No one will be allowed onto the field after graduation; all participants and guests must exit as directed while practicing social distancing guidelines.
- These guidelines are subject to change as determined by the Governor and the Texas Education Agency.