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Pa Schools React to Restriction Changes

With Governor Tom Wolf’s announcement of eased restrictions going into effect on Memorial Day, how will this effect schools in Cambria County?

Although Gov. Wolf’s administration announced the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions beginning May 31, not every school district will see a significant change this year. It will depend on when the district’s graduation dates are set.

Westmont Hilltop High School seniors will be graduating on the evening of May 26, just a handful of days before Gov. Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 restrictions are set to be lifted.

“So, we will be following the old orders which limits us to 25% capacity and 50% in outdoor capacity,” said Westmont Hilltop’s superintendent, Thomas Mitchell.

Therefore, Westmont Hilltop’s class of 2021 will be the first to walk across the stage at the school’s football stadium, Price Field.

“I think we are going to be able to accommodate all the parents if we have good weather which I am counting on. We will be able to permit six attendees for every graduate which would be very similar to an indoor event,” said Mitchell.

On the other side of town, Richland High School has a graduation date of June 4, after COVID restrictions are expected to be eased.

“Our plan was to be as normal as we possibly can. With this new set of the lifting of the mandates, our goal right now is to have our graduation inside of our theater, like we normally would,” said Richland High School’s principal, Tim Regan. “Again, we are still sifting through things but right now, the plan if these restrictions didn’t get lifted was to have our graduation on the field. However, if we are able to get back inside and get back to that normalcy for our kids, that’s what we want to do,” he added.

As for 2021-22 school year, plans are still being looked at for both Richland and Westmont Hilltop. But one major change is Richland’s remote learning.

“The situation is always going to be fluid here and right now we have made the decision to not offer the remote learning here for next year,” said Regan. “Therefore, that is one of the changes that will be big, and our students will be back in the classroom and back here. We are also subject to whatever come downs the line, so we will have to remain flexible and meet those requirements as well,” he added.

According to Gov. Wolf’s restrictions, school districts have the choice to continue implementing stricter restrictions despite these updates.

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