PELHAM SCHOOLS TO CLOSE FOR ONE-DAY FRIDAY ‘due to several ongoing concerns’ including New Rochelle decision

Pelham Union Free School District schools will close for one-day Friday “due to several ongoing concerns,” including the New Rochelle COVID-19 containment area and cases of whooping cough in the high school, according to a press release issued by Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ.

The district opted to wait a day to close, rather than shutting immediately, citing the need to “allow families adequate time to prepare for child care.”

“The past few weeks have been an extremely trying time for our district and Westchester County as a whole,” Champ said.

Pelham Memorial High School has three confirmed cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis. The closure decision comes on the heels of Champ’s consultation with the district physician, who said the time would allow those students to seek medical treatment.

“This will also provide us additional time to deep clean our buildings, further assess our situation and decide on next steps,” said Champ. The district “will communicate with you over the weekend as things evolve.”

Noting the New Rochelle situation, the whooping cough cases and the possibility cases of COVID-19 could emerge in the district, Champ said, “While any of these issues on their own would not warrant a school closure, the totality of these circumstances has caused unique concern for our district.”

“We are still not aware of any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pelham,” she said. “We recognize that is likely to change in the near future.”

Champ also reminded parents to report any cases of pertussis or novel coronavirus, as well as to let principals know about health department requests for self or mandatory quarantine.

The closure comes a day after more than 300 PMHS students signed a petition that requested a five-day closure, citing COVID-19 and concerns surrounding it.