The Midway Independent School District plans to allow each graduating senior bring three guests to its high school graduation ceremony at Panther Stadium on June 5.
Superintendent George Kazanas said during Tuesday night’s school board meeting that the district decided on three guests or tickets per senior based on the number of students and staff who would be in attendance to ensure the stadium occupancy remains within about 25% of the total capacity.
Panther Stadium seats about 9,000 people, he said. Midway High School has about 600 seniors, according to the Texas Education Agency.
As of May 29, all school districts may hold outdoor in-person graduation ceremonies while practicing social distancing and limiting attendance to students, families, friends and staff, according to the TEA.
District staff must screen all participating students, staff and guests by asking 11 questions related to COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone with signs of the 11 symptoms must be excluded from the event. Members of the same household do not have to remain 6 feet apart, but all others must maintain that distance.
Other area high schools have set similar limitations on guests.
Waco High School, University High School, China Spring High School, Connally High School, La Vega High School and Robinson High School all will hold their graduation ceremonies at stadiums, while allowing a limited number of guests. Robinson and China Spring will allow up to eight guests, Connally will allow four, and Waco and La Vega will allow two family members.
Midway will send out screening forms to families to complete in the coming days, along with instructions on where to park and which section of the stadium each family will sit in, Kazanas said. Screening forms also will be available at the stadium entrance.
The seniors will sit 6 feet apart on the field, like the U.S. Air Force Academy graduates did in their April ceremony.
Kazanas emphasized that participation in the ceremony is completely voluntary for all students, staff and board members. He said only he and Midway High Principal Alison Smith will come into contact with graduates to limit social interactions.
Additionally, each family will have a designated time to leave the stadium, and the school resource officer and local police will patrol the parking lot to help ensure a smooth operation.