(Lititz, PA-LititzDailyNews.com) Despite guidance from Governor Tom Wolf yesterday urging the statewide cancellation or postponement of large gatherings of 250 people or more effective today, the Warwick School District announced it will present the Spring musical, “Shrek,” starting tonight at the Warwick High School. Approximately 500 people have purchased tickets for each performance of the musical this weekend, according to charts of online ticket sales as of press time.
“This weekend’s musical production of ‘Shrek’ and the district-wide art show will go on as planned,” wrote Dr. April Hershey, Warwick school district superintendent, in a letter sent to district families and published on the district website yesterday. “Each family will need to make individual decisions about attendance,” she wrote.
If the Warwick School District holds the musical performances as planned, it would draw twice the advised number of individuals into close proximity, potentially thwarting efforts by the governor and state health administrators to mitigate the spread of the highly-contagious and deadly disease that has already been detected in 33 throughout the state, the majority of which are in nearby Montgomery County.
Governor Wolf announced his “significant and decisive social distancing” plan, including three statewide guidelines meant to minimize the spread of COVID-19, at a live press conference yesterday: “Across the state–I am doing three things here–I am strongly encouraging large gatherings, especially those with 250 or more attendees, to be either cancelled or postponed,” said Governor Wolf.
STORY CONTINUES BELOW VIDEO
“Second, I am discouraging people from going to recreational activities in public places like gyms, movie theaters, and stores,” he said. He then asked religious leaders to use their discretion to prevent the spread of the illness through their congregations and communities. The governor said the plan would be in effect for two weeks starting today, March 13, and may be revised to further protect Pennsylvanians.
Audiences for the Warwick high school musicals are typically filled with supportive friends and family members of the student cast, including many grandparents over age 60, a population the CDC says is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, especially those with underlying health conditions.
The CDC urges individuals at high risk to pay attention to what’s happening locally in their community and if the disease is spreading in the community, stay home, and avoid crowds as much as possible. Follow LititzDaily on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for frequent updates to this evolving community health concern. Message us on the LititzDailyNews.com Facebook page with any news tips.
As of press time, neither the district, Lititz, or Lancaster County have announced any confirmed positive cases of COVID-19. But that does not mean that those in attendance are not ill or contagious. There is no school for students in the district today due to an planned inservice/unused snow day.
While Hershey referenced the governor’s closing of Montgomery County schools for two weeks that he announced in the same press briefing in her letter to district families, no mention was made of the governor’s statewide directive for the cancellation or postponement of large gatherings starting the day the Warwick’s “Shrek” is slated to open.
“The situation is quickly evolving, even for us here at the Department of Health,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, director of the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
There was no mention of a refund policy in the district’s letter for those who wish to cancel due to concerns over spread of the virus.
Lynn Rebuck is the editor and publisher of award-winning LititzDailyNews.com, the only independent digital news source in Lititz. Lynn is an award-winning journalist who has received top recognition from the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, and has been featured in Editor & Publisher magazine for her unparalleled devotion to publishing LititzDailyNews.com to benefit the community. Support her efforts with your non-tax-deductible donation through the PayPal button below and on the LititzDailyNews.com home page.