District Moving Forward with Outdoor Graduation Plans

May 11, 2021

RUSSELL, Pa. – The recent announcement that the state is going to lift all gathering restrictions on May 31 isn’t giving the Warren County School District an easy “out” with its 2021 graduation plans.

“It appears as though we will be able to gather indoors without size restrictions or gathering size restrictions, but . . . my recommendation is going to be that we stick with outdoors,” WCSD Superintendent Amy Stewart said. “To take an event of that size, indoors, would prohibit some of our students from participating because some students and their families feel very strongly about not wanting to be indoors.”

Many colleges and universities held commencement ceremonies this past weekend and Stewart, along with Board President Donna Zariczny, got a first-hand look at how they were held.

“Donna and I both had the distinct pleasure, this weekend of attending outdoor graduation ceremonies for universities for our college kids,” Stewart said. “Donna’s experience was a little bit drier, I think than mine. The rain or shine graduations definitely have their positives and negatives, but I think people will be appreciative of coming together.”

The district and high school principals are examining options in case of rain on graduation day.

“I don’t know exactly how we’re going to make it all happen,” Stewart said. “We of course need to have some sort of a rain plan. And so we’ll be looking at different days as a plan B, plan C, and looking at some different times for graduations if we have to move things around.”

The restrictions ending has another group excited about end-of-year possibilities as well.

“We are receiving requests from, particularly music teachers wanting to hold some concerts,” Stewart said. “We’re working with everyone in developing safety plans. Right now, things are looking like orchestra concerts being held outside with limited numbers of participants at a time so they’re doing smaller concerts with small groups, and moving along in that direction.”

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