Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced April 17 that schools statewide will remain closed for the rest of the semester.
The widely expected move provided some clarity about how local school districts need to proceed over coming weeks. However, there are also many questions left unanswered.
Melissa ISD Superintendent Keith Murphy said the district is working on graduation plans for Melissa High School and vowed to do something special to honor seniors.
"We’ll figure something out," he said. "I don’t know what that is yet, but I want you to rest in peace and know that we will have a great graduation ceremony of some type, and we’ll let you know what that looks like as soon as we can."
He talked about character development and how the district teaches students not to become victims. He believes they will become stronger through this experience.
Murphy added that he wants students to be encouraged despite the situation and remember that they are surrounded by a community that will work through this together.
"Please remember that life is not always fair, and life is not always fun, but when we go through rough times it's important that you understand and remember who you go through those rough times with," he said.
District officials said they are continuing to evaluate other end-of-year activities including prom, awards ceremonies, yearbook-related events, Pre-k and kindergarten registrations, banquets, summer camps and allowing students to retrieve items from school.
They posted a form on social medial soliciting feedback about how to proceed with these events. Decisions are expected to be announced as soon as possible.
Anna ISD officials also created a site to provide updates about graduation.
District officials say their goal is to host a traditional graduation ceremony. However, they are also exploring a contingency plan in the event they are unable to proceed.
The goal of any such plan would be to preserve as much tradition as possible for graduating seniors and their families, while ensuring the health and well-being of everyone involved.
More information on other end-of-year events and summer programs will be sent at a later date.
As of April 21, there had been 12 confirmed cased of COVID-19 in Anna and eight in Melissa. Of those, three remained active in Anna and one in Melissa.