Update on Coronavirus Precautions

Dr. Champ

Dear Pelham Parents and Community Members,

 

As the number of cases of Coronavirus continues to increase in Westchester County, I wanted to update you on the District's proactive efforts to combat the spread of this disease as well as our planning for the possibility of a short or long-term school closure. As stated last week, we are monitoring updates and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), and the Westchester County Department of Health. We have also participated in conference calls throughout the week with our state and local governmental officials to coordinate efforts. 

In discussions with these agencies, they have shared that they are actively tracking and notifying individuals that may have been impacted by the New Rochelle case. As of this communication, we are not aware of any Pelham students or staff who have been flagged for quarantine. We ask that if you or anyone in your household is directed to quarantine, please contact your child's building principal immediately.

While there are no plans to close our schools at this time, we are proactively preparing for that contingency. Any decision to close would be coordinated in consultation with the Department of Health and could take the form of a short or long-term closure. If deemed necessary, a short-term closure could be used as a preventative measure to allow full sanitizing of all schools and to allow more time to assess any other potential issue. A closure of this nature would be treated similar to a snow day. 

The District is also taking steps to prepare for a long-term closure, if warranted. In order to provide some level of learning opportunity for our students under this scenario, the following steps are being taken:

  • Distributing Google Chromebooks to all sixth-grade students to take home so that they can access instructional materials and communicate with teachers from home (all students Gr. 7-12 already have these devices)

  • Sending elementary students home with additional books for independent reading to provide opportunities for building reading stamina and fluency

  • Working with teachers to provide learning materials via the District website and/or Google Classroom for students and establishing protocols for electronic communication with students/parents.

While we understand that telecommuting has become commonplace in the business world, many of these practices are not currently in place for school districts. Therefore, we will be primarily relying on learning tools that our students and teachers are already accustomed to. 

As much of our communications are sent via email and text, we ask that parents inform their school's main office if their contact information has changed recently. 

Please know that we understand the great level of concern and stress among parents, students and community members and appreciate your collective help in keeping our students safe. Current guidance continues to reinforce that the most effective way to prevent the spread of the virus is focusing on normal cold and flu prevention measures, including:

  • Regular handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds

  • Covering coughs and sneezes with tissues or the corner of elbow

  • Disposing of soiled tissues immediately after use

  • Avoiding touching your face

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick

  • Keeping your children home if they are sick (District guidelines require that students who have a fever greater than 100.0 degrees F. must stay home until they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the help of a fever reducer)

Our facilities team continues to implement increased cleaning and sanitizing practice in all buildings and campuses each day and night, including on weekends. This involves focusing on high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, hand railings, desks, bathrooms, gym equipment, etc. We have also added hand sanitizing stations to the main entrances of all schools and have asked our teachers/staff to continue to remind students about the need to wash their hands frequently. Additionally, our bus vendor, Royal Coach, has increased its efforts to sanitize buses that are in use for athletics or other events. 

We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available. We have also created a dedicated District webpage on which we will post updates and provide resources. 

We understand and share your concern for the well being of our students and thank you for continued vigilance as we work through this together. 

  • #health
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