Dear Pelham Parents and Community Members,
We know that many of our students and parents took time to review and become acclimated with our distance learning resources. Thank you for your feedback and suggestions. As we make this shift, please understand that this is a work in process. We have heard many concerns shared throughout the day and are already in discussions with our administrators and teachers in an effort to improve these experiences for both our students and parents. While initial thinking of this plan began two weeks ago, its necessity happened quickly and its duration became much longer than expected, creating many growing pains for all of us.
It is important for elementary parents in particular to know that a variety of factors were taken into account when planning this initial approach - many of those with our students and parents in mind. Our youngest students and their teachers do not spend large portions of their instructional day on screens and Google Classroom is not a platform they are used to. When thinking about parents managing the needs of young students from home, we recognize that supporting children with accessing on-line conference calls requires physical assistance and supervision of parents, many of whom are already stretched thin working from home. These demands are then exacerbated by having to manage multiple young children in many cases.
In addition to navigating the educational components of our extended closure, we continue to track the spread of COVID-19 to the best of our ability. This pandemic has touched the lives of many in our school community, including teachers, staff and administrators at the building and district level and the impacts of dealing with illness and/or quarantines on our staff are creating additional challenges similar to what many of our families are facing.
As is to be expected, we continue to be advised about positive tests and principals are notifying families who may be affected directly. If you receive one of these communications, or have concerns about your health, please contact your doctor or call the Department of Health by calling 888-364-3065 or 518-473-3697. Please understand that our principals are not able to provide self-identifying information about students or staff who have tested positive. We ask that you respect this confidentiality constraint and not overwhelm our principals with emails as they are already inundated with other issues related to this health crisis.
Despite our confidentiality, we understand that people may become aware of students and families that test positive via other means. It is extremely important that we be supportive of these individuals, and I ask that all parents speak with their children about appropriate use of social media when communicating with others.
As a reminder, breakfast and lunch are available Thursday and Friday for those students who are eligible for free and reduced price lunch. This service will be available at Hutchinson School and Pelham Memorial High School. Breakfast hours are 8-10am and lunch hours are 11am-1pm and students may pick up both breakfast and lunch at the same time. Please use the Third Avenue entrance at Hutchinson School and the 18 Franklin Place entrance at PMHS and maintain proper social distancing at all times.
Any student who requires lunch, but can not pick up meals due to illness or other circumstances should contact Karla Grimaldi, Dining Services Director by sending an email to email@example.com. Please know that these hours and locations are subject to change.
In closing, I ask that we all pause to think of the families in our community, region and world that are most affected by this health crisis. The best thing we can do is be supportive and patient with one another during this time. We are one Pelham and I am confident we will find our way through this together.
Cheryl H. Champ
Superintendent of Schools
Social Distancing Guidelines
- Stay home as much as possible, even if you feel healthy
- Refrain from congregating in groups
- Refrain from social gatherings, playdates and sleepovers with friends
- Do not visit public playgrounds
- Use caution when visiting grocery stores/pharmacies and consider delivery services for food and groceries
Information on Community Organizations Offering Assistance
Additionally, organizations such as Pelham Together, the Junior League of Pelham and our faith community have offered their assistance with those families with a variety of needs, including food, child care, and other demands of day-to-day life. The Pelham Civic Association is also available for families that have fallen on hard times due to this pandemic. Please feel free to reach out in confidentiality for potential assistance to Richard Davidian, Vice President, Community programs at Richard.Davidian1@gmail.com (914-552-0872) or Dr. Stan Trocchia, Chairman, Good Neighbors program Goodneighbors@pelhamcivics.org.