DuBOIS — With Clearfield County being among the 17 counties that will move into the green phase on Friday, the DuBois Area School District is now planning a blended graduation ceremony to include an abbreviated in-person ceremony as well as a virtual ceremony for the Class of 2020.
“From the start, it’s been our goal to provide our graduates with the absolute best possible sendoff that we can give them under the current guidelines,” said DuBois Area High School Dean of Students Chuck Pasternak in announcing this Friday’s graduation details.
The event will kick off with the 2020 Parade of Graduates, he said.
Students and parents who wish to participate in the parade will need to report to the high school between 5:30-6:30 p.m. Friday. Parade participants must be at the high school with their vehicle no later than 6:30 p.m. to be placed in the parade line-up.
Due to parade permit regulations, the parade will be limited to one vehicle per graduate, said Pasternak, noting that family members are welcome to ride with or drive their graduate. Graduates may also ride together with other graduates if they would like to do so.
Pasternak said graduates are encouraged to decorate their vehicles — for example, perhaps a sign with their name, high school activities and plans after graduation.
Due to safety regulations (oncoming traffic will not be closed down), all parade participants must remain inside their vehicles throughout the parade, said Pasternak.
The parade will depart from DAHS at 7 p.m. and end at the DuBois Area Middle School on Liberty Boulevard.
Once parked at the middle school, graduates will report to the area around the greenhouse to begin lining up for the processional into Mansell Stadium. Family members will enter the stadium main gate and take a seat in the home team bleachers. The district is asking for full cooperation from each family to take seats in a manner where they maintain appropriate social distancing (6 feet apart) from the families of other graduates. The use of face masks is encouraged.
At 8:15 p.m., the graduates will begin the processional into Mansell Stadium for the commencement ceremony. The live portion of the ceremony will include:
At approximately 9:20 p.m., the pre-recorded 2020 DAHS commencement ceremony will begin playing on the large outdoor screen which will be located inside the stadium.
Because the link to the ceremony will be made available for everyone to download through the district website, the district encourages family and friends to plan their own private watch parties of the graduation ceremony to help celebrate this occasion. This ceremony, including all speeches, performances, and announcements of graduates and their future plans will also be broadcast live over Sunny 106.5 FM.
In the event of inclement weather, the rain date for the parade and outdoor viewing of the ceremony will be Saturday. A final determination on the events and any accompanying announcements to utilize the rain date will be made by 3 p.m. Friday, Pasternak said.
The district expresses appreciation to the many people who have come together and worked very hard to provide the Class of 2020 “with the most special send-off possible in these unprecedented times,” said Pasternak. They include: Brennan and Mandi Bell, Tri-County Church, Joelle Watt Photography, the entire district staff and administration, local media, DuBois City Manager John “Herm” Suplizio, DuBois Mayor Randy Schmidt, DuBois Police Chief Blaine Clark and the police department, Sandy Township Police Chief Kris Kruzelak and the township police department, School Police Officer in Charge Janice Bart and SPOs, DuBois City Fire Chief Joe Mitchell and the fire department, the Sandy Township, Reynoldsville, Falls Creek, Union Township, Brady Township, Penfield and Sykesville Volunteer Fire Departments, Downtown DuBois Inc. Executive Director Julie Stewart, Penn State DuBois, Avery Vinyl Graphics, LaBue Printing and other DuBois Area businesses who have assisted in painting the town red, black and white.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The district announced Thursday afternoon that all activities, including the seniors' practice, the parade and graduation ceremony at Mansell Stadium, have been postponed until Saturday because of inclement weather being forecast for Friday evening. All of the times are the same; it's just Saturday now instead of Friday.
DuBOIS — DuBois Area YMCA Executive Director Dan Dowling announced the facility’s Friday reopening plan after a nearly three-month coronavirus lockdown.
“We are trying to promote safe entry and use of our facilities,” said Dowling. “One of the first things members will notice when they come in is a new gate system that will be divided, separate in and out area, so people can social distance coming in on the left and exiting on the left from the other side. There are directional arrows.”
Dowling also said the hand reader at the DuBois location will no longer be used. A barcode reader has been installed for touch-less access to the facilities. Upon coming back to the YMCA, he asked for members to allow extra time to process and acquire a barcode for future entry. This procedure has been used at the Treasure Lake facility.
“We have limited some of the facilities to promote social distancing,” said Dowling.
The locker rooms at the main location will be open for changing clothes, restroom facilities and hand washing, but closed at the Treasure Lake site, where a unisex restroom is available. At the main location, Dowling said the showers, steam room, and sauna will not be available for use at this time.
He said no towels will be available for showers, swimming, or workouts. Paper towels and disinfecting wipes will be available in the fitness areas.
The main gymnasium will be used for indoor cycling, said Dowling. Open gym time, pick-up basketball, pickleball, and soccer will not be available. The auxiliary gym will be used for school-aged childcare and not available for open gym time.
In the aquatic area, the pool will be available, but not the hot tub, said Dowling.
The racquetball courts area will not be accessible in order to promote and effectively enable social distancing, he said.
“We’ve sectioned off our multipurpose room for exercise classes also, with margins for social distancing,” said Dowling. “We’ve moved machines around, weight machines and benches and so forth to be 6 feet apart. Our cardio equipment will be only accessible every other machine, so that will be turned off so people can safely use the equipment that’s there without being in contact with another person.”
Dowling said it is recommended that people wear masks when they come into the facility and when going to and from activities, but wearing a mask is optional while exercising because it could be restrictive.
In addition, the YMCA will have adjusted hours to promote proper cleaning and sanitation. Hours for reopening at both facilities will be from 5:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday.
Dowling noted that day pass users and non-member groups will not have access to the facilities at this time.
“These changes will be evaluated on an ongoing basis for the need for continued use,” said Dowling.
DuBOIS — Planet Fitness in DuBois has not yet announced a reopening date, according to Senior Public Relations Manager Becky Zirlen.
“At Planet Fitness, the safety of our team and members is our top priority and we are working closely with our local franchisees to determine a reopening date with that in mind,” said Zirlen. “As we begin to execute a thoughtful and phased reopening approach, we will take a number of steps to protect the health and well-being of our team members and members, which include enhanced cleanliness and sanitization policies and procedures, physical distancing measures, reducing physical touch points in the club, and more. Now more than ever it’s important to stay active, in order to stay healthy, and we look forward to safely and responsibly welcoming our members back to Planet Fitness.”
ST MARYS — St. Marys elected officials are eager to see businesses move into Pennsylvania’s “green phase” beginning Friday.
According to State Rep. Matt Gabler May 22, the green phase means restaurants and bars, hair salons and barbershops, indoor recreation facilities like gyms, and entertainment venues like theaters and shopping malls may open at 50 percent capacity. Businesses that were operating at 50 percent capacity in the yellow phase can now increase to 75 percent.
St. Marys Mayor Lou Radkowski said depending on the industry, this could change operations significantly, or not much at all.
“Restaurants, barbers and salons, spa services, gyms and other businesses will need to invest time this week to ensure they have the right PPE (personal protective equipment) and cleaning protocols in place,” he said, such as equipment wipe downs and table cleanings.
Radkowski said he is proud of rural Pennsylvania and Elk County’s initiative to “slow the contagion” and care for its neighbors.
“I attribute this to two things – our people naturally care for each other,” he said. “It’s not a partisan issue, it’s just what we do as a small town. Secondly, most of our communities in this area continue to put their faith first. Our practice of our individual faiths are aggregated into a stronger collective action.”
Officials are awaiting more guidance from the state, Radkowski said, but are answering questions from residents and businesses and seeking to provide programs and funding available.
“2020 will be different, and a tough year for everyone,” he said. “St. Marys will respond positively like it always has done in the past. We will be stronger in the future.”
City Manager Tim Pearson said he is encouraged by the response of St. Marys and optimistic about the future.
“Moving into the green phase will give all our residents and businesses the opportunity to work through how to operate in this new reality,” he said. “I hope that everyone remains safe, continues to make smart decisions and we are able to socialize together this summer, even if it is a little different than we are used to.”
HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported Tuesday that there are 780 additional positive cases of COVID-19 in the state, bringing the statewide total to 69,417.
Clearfield County’s total number of COVID-19 cases was unchanged with 37 confirmed cases. Elk County remains steady at six total cases and Jefferson County remains unchanged with seven cases, the latest update from the state said.
There have been 5,265 total deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 113 new deaths.
To date, the number of negative cases reported in Clearfield County is at 1,032, in Elk County at 305 and in Jefferson County at 488, according to the Department of Health.
“As Pennsylvania continues to move forward in the process to reopen, we need to remember that the threat from COVID-19 has not gone away,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “As counties move into the yellow and green phases, we must take personal responsibility to protect others. Wearing a mask, continuing to maintain social distancing, and washing your hands frequently are all steps we can take to help protect others, including our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, our essential workers and our healthcare system.”
There are 576 patients who have had a positive serology test and either COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure, which are considered probable cases and not confirmed cases. Statewide, 349,990 patients have tested negative to date.
According to the latest report:
— Clarion County currently has 25 reported cases and two deaths.
— Indiana County reported one new case, with a total of 90 reported cases and five deaths.
— Centre County reports one new case for a total of 149 cases and six deaths.
— Cameron County remains the same, with two reported cases.
— Forest County has seven reported cases.
— Potter County remains unchanged with four reported cases.
— McKean County remains unchanged with 12 reported cases and one death related to COVID-19.
In nursing and personal care homes, there are 14,990 resident cases of COVID-19, and 2,528 cases among employees, for a total of 17,518 at 596 distinct facilities in 44 counties.