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As school districts grapple with restrictions on large gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting cancelations or postponements of graduations, senior celebration days and the prom, many districts have planned alternative events to comply with social-distance requirements.
In the McKeesport Area School District, officials began looking at creative ways to connect with students, according to Mark Holtzman Jr., district superintendent.
One of the options they considered is a “senior procession,” to be held on June 3, the day seniors would have graduated. Holtzman announced the senior procession at the board’s meeting on Wednesday.
Holtzman encouraged members of the community to come out and support the seniors and hopes the senior procession will take on a “parade atmosphere and provide students with encouragement from the community, we are looking to see our kids again and encourage them to move forward in a positive way.”
The procession will start at the high school parking lot, pass Renziehausen Park and Penn State Greater Allegheny Campus, and end at the corner of Hartman Street and O’Neil Boulevard.
Details of the senior procession parade route are available on the school district website, www.mckasd.net.
Also at the May 27 meeting, Holtzman announced graduation ceremonies are scheduled for June 30, but noted an alternative graduation ceremony is also in the planning process. “We are anticipating, unfortunately, the possibility of having to provide an alternative ceremony, but we’re really excited about providing that for our students on June 30, if, in fact, we have to go that route.”
Holtzman and his administration team are “at a standstill,” with the process of planning to reopen classrooms in the fall, until specific directions are available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Holtzman said depending on one’s expectations, “schools might look very different than they did traditionally, but we’ll be prepared, and we will build the best learning environment we can for our students.”
Originally published May 29, 2020.