A forecast for a rainy week across North Texas is causing concern for many parents, students and school districts who are hoping their re-imagined graduations are not rained out.
COVID-19 concerns pushed graduations for several districts outdoors and to sites like Texas Motor Speedway where requirements for social distancing could easily be met. Now, rain could cause more issues.
Tuesday the Northwest Independent School District is scheduled to hold four graduations at the popular motorsports venue and is hoping to be able to push forward with several plans in place.
“Plan A is to move forward with business as usual. Even if it is a slight sprinkle – we’re going to trudge through and get the graduation done and it would be the same as if we had it at one of our football stadiums,” NISD representative Jerry Cantu said.
“Plan B, if rain does get a little heavier than we would like, we are going to go ahead and have what we call a little bit of a rain delay,” Cantu added. “The great thing is that the spectators are already going to be covered because they will be in their cars. That will allow us to wait out any type of storm that is coming through.”
Plan C is a postponement.
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“We would just have to reschedule,” Cantu said. “Northwest ISD really wants to get this done. We know that the later we schedule this graduation into June, the possibility of kids not returning for their own graduation is going to be pretty high.”
The district has worked hard to make sure the graduations are as special as possible. Each school’s graduating seniors have face masks that are branded with their school and match their caps and gowns.
“It is going to be memorable. It is going to be special, but nothing is going to replace what they lost, but we hope to do everything we can for the kids and their families,” Cantu said.
The students will literally walk across the finish line as a symbol of all they have accomplished and endured.
“They didn’t have a prom, a lot of their seasons were cut short by the COVID challenge. Some of them didn’t get to play in state tournaments,” Cantu said. “There is just so much that they missed out on in a very important part of their lives.”
Texas Motor Speedway released a statement saying: "The primary goal is to keep safe all involved and proceed with the ceremonies as scheduled. If weather does become a factor, we will delay as long as makes sense, similar to what we would do for a race rain delay. If weather requires a postponement, we will work with the individual school administrators to determine if they want to reschedule or cancel. We have a plan and hope we won’t have to use it. "
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.