Dear Pelham Parents and Community Members,
This morning, I joined more than 50 superintendents for a discussion with members of the Board of Regents, State Senator Shelley Mayer, and a representative from the governor's office to discuss the ongoing public health crisis facing our state and nation. There was a collective concern for the safety of our students, staff, parents and our respective communities. We believe that immediate action is necessary. In preparation for a likely long-term closure, the Pelham Public Schools will be closed to students on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020. This interim closure will provide time for teachers to continue their preparations for Distance Learning and will allow our elected officials to continue their advocacy and legislative work on regulatory relief schools will need going forward.
As a region, it is our expectation that we will obtain further guidance from New York State related to our questions and concerns in the next few days. While we await that information it would be prudent for parents to prepare for an extended school closing.
Monday, March 16 will be treated as a Superintendent's Conference Day, where all staff will report, either in person or virtually, to review learning materials that have been prepared in case of a long-term closure. We will provide more details about these learning plans to you early next week. Tuesday, March 17 will be treated as a snow day. A final decision about the next two weeks will also be communicated to you by Tuesday evening. The Board of Education Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, March 18 has been cancelled as have the Parent/Teacher Conferences on Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20.
Please know that these decisions are incredibly complex and are not being taken lightly. We are taking these closures step by step, instead of all at once, as there are many regulatory unknowns and we want to provide the District maximum flexibility while also keeping our students and staff safe.
Again, we ask that that while school is closed, please continue to:
Practice social distancing and avoid large groups. Students should stay home and not congregate with others to the extent possible. Even if you are healthy, these efforts can help prevent spreading disease to others, especially the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
Take common-sense measures to protect yourself and others including washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face.
Report any confirmed cases of COVID-19 or requests by the health department to quarantine to your school principals.
This continues to be an evolving situation and we will continue to update you as new information becomes available. Thank you for your continued support during this difficult time.
Cheryl H. Champ
Superintendent of Schools