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318 Country Club Dr., Ellwood City, PA 16117


May 5, 2020

To the Parents/Guardians of the Graduates of the Class of 2020:

We at Riverside would like to thank all parents and guardians for their continued support and flexibility during this unprecedented time in education.  While understanding that the teachers and administrators know that the solutions we have readily available for the upcoming senior activities are not ideal, the uncertainty of the ability to host several senior-oriented events still remains a priority of the district, and we are still within the tentative planning phases in the attempt to schedule the remaining high school activities.  Unfortunately, the decision to remove the restrictions limiting large group gatherings and re-open the district campus are out of our jurisdiction.  We will continue to abide by the guidelines and suggestions made by the state and the CDC to ensure that all members of our community and student body are healthy and safe.  We will continue to respond to the changing demands and suggestions from the CDC and state officials to address all students’ needs and make the changes necessary as these dates rapidly approach.

As we begin to enter the last full month of the school year, it is imperative that we begin to disseminate information about some of the active plans we have developed for seniors.  Below, you will find a list of events and dates that have been coordinated.  Please keep in mind that at this point all plans are tentative since Beaver County is currently still operating under the “red” phase, which is still the stay at home order.  Our hope is that by these listed dates, we will have the ability to gather in small groups using social distancing and protective measures; however, school districts are not considered “open” until the county is in the “green” phase. Even the transition into a “yellow” phase presents concerns to gathering in large groups despite abilities to social distance in some venues.

  •      May 19: Last day of instruction for seniors
  •      May 20-21: School-issued materials returned to school and collection of personal belongings
  •      May 27: Delivery of all cap and gowns to senior homes
  •      June 1-4: 10:30-11:30-recording of prepared speeches for graduation
  •                       12:00-4:00-recording of graduation ceremony
  •      July 10: Graduate Celebration
  •      July 11: Graduate Celebration Rain Date

The following events have been deemed significant to the graduating senior class, and more specific details will follow regarding each event. 

May 20-21: Returning School-Issued Materials and Collection of Personal Items

The district has planned a return and pick up date for all seniors to collect their personal belongings and return any school-issued materials.  Currently, each senior will be assigned either May 20th or May 21st and a time slot to return items.  Items to be returned are the following but not limited to Chromebook, Chromebook charger, textbooks, calculator, art/shop supplies, uniforms, athletic equipment.  Payments for any outstanding charges will also be collected at this time.  Additionally, the students will also collect the contents of their lockers in both the high school and locker rooms, if applicable. Specific details will be distributed closer to these dates in regards to procedures, scheduled date/time, and obligations.

May 27:  Cap and Gown Delivery

The district has organized a way to distribute all of the cap and gowns to families at their homes.  If you have already ordered/purchased the cap and gown for your senior, these have been delivered to the school and have been safely stored until we distribute them.  If you did not previously order/purchase a cap and gown for graduation, please contact high school secretary Elaine Murrer at ext. 3000 on Tuesday or Thursday to make arrangements.  All graduates that are choosing to volunteer for the modified graduation ceremony must wear the cap and gown selected by the district.

June 1-4: Modified Graduation Ceremony

The decision to continue to move forward with a graduation ceremony at the time of the original graduation is a decision that serves all students and families with the best possible solution to ensure that all members of the graduating class receive their diplomas on the intended date of graduation as well as hold an event to celebrate all student successes in case students leave for their chosen college/university, military service, or work-related field. Starting on Monday, June 1st and completing on Thursday, June 4th, all students involved in the graduation ceremony will be pre-recorded to showcase their contribution to the ceremony.    Students who have prepared speeches for graduation will begin recording these speeches from 10:30am and conclude at 11:30am each day that week until all prepared speeches are complete.  All graduates will be assigned a day and a time in which they will be able to walk across the built stage in the gymnasium and receive their diploma from the school board President in view of 4 members of their family.  Again, we understand that limiting the number of people to a traditional graduation held at the football stadium allows an unlimited number of attendees; however, we must control the number of people we have on school grounds to adhere to all of the state regulations.  After officially receiving a diploma, the student and his/her family members in attendance will have the opportunity to get a photo near the school mascot panther sign located in front of the high school building and/or in front of the tennis courts that list all graduates.  Once the week of June 1-4th is complete, the video will be professionally edited and formatted, and the school will distribute a copy of the entire ceremony to all graduating seniors.

July 10 or 11:  Graduate Celebration

Because of the immediate shutdown of all school districts, seniors have missed several culminating events and moments with their peers and teachers.  On July 10th or 11th, the school would like to host a graduate celebration at the school to replace one of the senior events, the senior class picnic.  This day is very tentative in the planning phase since we will need many restrictions to be lifted in order to organize this event.  Also, communication between administrators and the senior class officers continues to be beneficial to the planning phase as it helps develop ideas that all seniors would be interested in doing later in the summer months.  The ideas for this event include but are not limited to: class picnic, teacher visits, modified tractor day, bonfire, DJ.  Again, we will make every effort to plan and host this event providing that all of the restrictions are lifted regarding large group gatherings and the governor allows the school district to re-open.

While the cancellation, postponement, and/or modification of these events sadden all parties involved, it is imperative we continue to follow the guidelines suggested by state and local authorities for the continued well-being of everyone.  Please understand that it is not the intention of the district to cancel, postpone, and/or modify any event traditionally held at the school; however, we must follow all restrictions and suggestions mandated by high ranking officials.  Due to this, the high school prom, senior dinner dance, senior class picnic are not cancelled but postponed at the current time.  Knowing that these events, especially for graduating seniors, are crucial to the culmination of their time at Riverside; we will make every effort to reschedule or make adjustments to their traditional organization.  But given the current uncertainty of the national pandemic, we cannot promise this will occur.  All information pertinent to schedules and parent/student involvement will be posted and distributed with ample notification.  

Again, we understand the disappointment and frustration the situation has caused both families and students; however, the overall health and general safety of all members of our community and district as well as our adherence to state laws and regulations must remain our priority.  If there are any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact the district at any time.


Nikki Pauline

High School Principal

Attached Files