Additional reporting from Eliza Rapp and Brayden Simmons

On Wednesday evening, October 21st, Superintendent Ralston notified students and parents that due to COVID guidelines and regulations, the high school would be closed for Thursday and Friday, October 22nd and 23rd. 

Within the communication, a few key points emphasized the reasons behind the closure and what families could expect the next day. 

“This evening, the Avonworth School District Administration was notified of a new positive case of COVID-19.  District administration immediately contacted the Allegheny County Department of Health to report this case and to receive guidance.”

“In accordance with the recommendations of the Pennsylvania Department of Education and guidance received from the Allegheny County Department of Health, the secondary campus will be closed through Sunday, October 25, 2020.”


The district’s website includes a Positivity Rate and Incident Rate Google Sheet indicating the rising rate starting in early October.

To see the full document, visit

The key to the closure was also the transmission rate of moderate, defined below on the CDC website:

For some of the students in Journalism 1, each  had different experiences learning about the cancellation not just of classes but sports and activities, too.

Late Wednesday night, after just getting home from a basketball open gym, freshman Brayden Simmons saw that his marching band practice had been cancelled, yet he didn’t know why. It seemed normal to him though, because he assumed that it was simply because the Halloween parade had been cancelled. However, he was not prepared for what happened next while talking to his mother.  

“Hey, my marching band practice got cancelled tomorrow, but I don’t know why?” She responded to him saying that school had been cancelled, and he found himself saying “not again.”

After finishing cheer practice, freshman Eliza Rapp got into her brother’s car to drive home, like a normal Wednesday night. He then informed her that we would not be able to go to school for Thursday and Friday.

Sophomore Laurel Purcell had a slightly more dramatic reveal of the news. “I was in the shower when my brother pounded on the door and shouted that school was cancelled. I almost had a heart attack.” When she heard that sports would be suspended temporarily, she raised concerns about the upcoming WPIAL Cross Country race next Wednesday. “I’m worried that we won’t be allowed to go because of the positive cases. We aren’t even allowed to have a practice yet.” 

Questions remain about a return to the building, particularly as the district had planned a special in-person and virtual meeting earlier this week to allow for community feedback about bringing back students into all the buildings.

For more information on the guidelines the district uses for closures, visit



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