Pelham schools to close Monday-Tuesday to let teachers prep for distance learning

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Pelham Union Free School District will close its schools on Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 17, “in preparation for a likely long-term closure,” according to a press release sent by Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ on Friday night.

In the release, Dr. Champ wrote that the closure was “in preparation for a likely long term closure,” and that it would provide teachers time to be able to prepare for distance learning in the future, with a final decision regarding the following weeks to be determined by Tuesday evening.

The closure comes following a variety of medical issues hitting both the Pelham community and the nation at large. In nearby New Rochelle, an outbreak of COVID-19 has led to the establishment of a containment zone, and the deployment of the National Guard.

At the same time, PMHS has been hit with an outbreak of whooping cough, also known as pertussis. As of the last notice by the district on the issue, PUFSD had 3 confirmed whooping cough cases.

Champ also explained how the closures will affect the regular school schedule, saying that Monday’s closure will be treated as a Superintendent’s Conference Day, while Tuesday will be treated as a snow day closure. Staff will still be required to report on Monday, and will ” review learning materials that have been prepared in case of a long-term closure.”

The district notes “regulatory unknowns” and an effort to provide “maximum flexibility” as reasons behind taking the closures day by day rather than on a larger scale.

The district reminds people to practice social distancing and avoid group gatherings, to take common sense health measures like washing one’s hands, and to report confirmed cases or quarantine requests relating to COVID-19 to respective schools principals to effectively combat these health crises.