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email: mainlinenews@verizon.net www.mainline-news.com

MAI NLI NE newspapers

Vol. 165 No. 32

USPS 166680

Ebensburg, Pa.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Local school districts unsure of future after mandated closures

By Allie Byers

of Mainline Newspapers

Last Friday, Gov. Tom Wolf mandated that all K-12 Pennsylvania schools will close for 10 business days, beginning March 16, due to COVID-19 also known as the coronavirus. According to a March 13 press release, Wolf’s top priority as governor is to ensure the health and safety of the students and school communities. The press release stated that “no school district will be penalized if it fails to meet the 180 day or school hours requirements.” Penn Cambria superintendent Bill Marshall stated that there is a misinterpretation of Wolf’s press release in regard to the 180-day requirement. He explained that

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schools will be required to make up the days up to the June 30 deadline. If a school district does not meet the days and hours requirements after June 30, there will be no penalty. Blacklick Valley School District in Nanty Glo is facing the same conundrum. “This is unprecedented,” said Blacklick Valley superintendent Bill Kanich. The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has released information to guide districts through this trying time. According to their March 14 press release, the districts will be responsible for deciding which staff members are necessary. The PDE stated that examples

Engineers provide update on Central Cambria renovation projects

By Allie Byers

of Mainline Newspapers

This summer, the Central Cambria School District will be witnessing big changes with several projects scheduled to take place. At the March 9 school board meeting, Eckles Construction vice president and partner John Pappas and Eckles Engineering architect Jeremy Beatty updated the school board on

the impending projects. “The contractor mobilized today ... to do some building layout and to start getting things in the works for that project [maintenance building],” said Pappas. He added that the weather has been beneficial and equipment will be moved to the site soon. The plan is to have the maintenance building on location in April or May. “Every other Tuesday, we have a


coordination meeting with contractors to work through the details of the project,” stated Pappas. According to Pappas, there will be visible progress made at the construction sites, however they will be kept separate from students and staff. The school board members were SEE PROJECTS, PAGE 4A

Agricultural fun

Cambria Elementary students Hannah Miller and Skyler Chappell learn about where their food comes from during Ag Literacy Week March 12. Photo by Kristin Baudoux.

COVID-19 virus slows down more than just people

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

As the global economy turns, so do your local store shelves. In the interconnected world that exists today, the COVID-19 virus outbreak began in China in Dec. 2019 is now impacting the United States economy. A check of local stores on Friday, March 13, showed that food and personal items — other than the panic buying of toilet paper and hand sanitizer — were well stocked. By Monday, March 16, local stores were limiting hours and quantities in an attempt to allow customers better access to sup-

plies and to prohibit panic buying and the stockpiling of foods and paper products. Grocery stores were out of stock for many items as a result of panic buying. Toilet paper and bread were disappearing off shelves faster than they could be delivered. Wal-Mart stores, which are typically open 24 hours a day, are now limiting hours from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. to allow employees to sanitize the store daily and restock shelves. On Tuesday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf recommended the closure of nonessential businesses and limited restaurants to take-out and delivery service only. The first to feel the effect of the industry shutdown in China is the pharmaceutical

Ag Literacy

Amelia McConnell and Amelia Schweitzer learn about food production during Ag Literacy week at Cambria Elementary School March 12. Photo by Kristin Baudoux.

industry. In a statement issued Feb. 27, Stephen M. Hahn M.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs — Food and Drug Administration said: “As I have previously communicated, the FDA has been closely monitoring the supply chain with the expectation that the COVID-19 outbreak would likely impact the medical product supply chain, including potential disruptions to supply or shortages of critical medical products in the U.S.” The majority of today's active ingredients in pharmaceuticals are manufactured in China. Additionally, nearly all over-thecounter medications and a large percentage of medical devices come from Chinese manufacturers. The impact may not be felt

Farm fun

in the area until weeks and months down the road. According to press releases from several pharmaceutical manufacturers, full production in China has resumed and current stockpiles on hand should mitigate any shortage in pharmaceutical manufacturing. The Chinese government shut down factories to contain the spread of the virus, and production went to a standstill. The effect of this is just beginning to be felt in this region. Those factories are slowly beginning to resume production. There is also a reported shortage of truck drivers to get the shipment containers to the port SEE SLOWS, PAGE 7A

Cambria Elementary students Hayden Hamady, Isaac Sedor and Ian Shaffer gather cards representing different types of crops as part of Ag Literacy Week. Cambria County fair ambassadors Brooke Driskel and Jade Lynn Wallace visited the school to teach the second-graders about food production, from the farm to the table March 12. Photo by Kristin Baudoux.

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