Pelham schools say Siwanoy, Hutch not now offering childcare for healthcare workers, disputing county


Westchester County and the Pelham School District disagree on whether Siwanoy and Hutchinson schools are currently housing childcare for healthcare workers and other first responders.

The county issued a news release Thursday that said all Westchester school districts “are opening their doors to the children of healthcare workers and first responders so that those on the front lines can continue to do their jobs that benefit all of us.” The schools in the program “are now providing childcare for children ages 5 to 12 for healthcare workers and first responders (police, fire, EMS, corrections officers and all public health workers) with no other childcare options.”

The release listed Siwanoy and Hutchinson along with school buildings in 27 districts from Ardsley to Yorktown.

However, Alex Wolff, spokesperson for the Pelham School District, said the district has “not been contacted or asked to activate these sites for childcare. As such these locations are not currently providing childcare.”

“The county, in accordance with the governor’s executive order related to school closure, asked districts to submit plans for childcare for healthcare workers and first responders,” Wolff said in an emailed statement, adding the information had been provided by Pelham.

The Pelham Examiner requested comment from the press office of County Executive George Latimer, though it was after hours.

“We have been in contact with the county” about the discrepancy, Wolff said.

“This is an important thing we as a county can do to help support these brave men and women who are the front lines of fighting the Covid-19 outbreak,” said Latimer in the news release. “I want them to be able to focus on their work and know that their children are well taken care of.  It’s often said ‘it takes a village’—today that village is a whole county, and we are here to support and care for one another during this difficult and stressful time.”

Parents dropping off children at the buildings in the program must provide proof of employment. County residents and healthcare workers and first responders who work in Westchester but live elsewhere can use the service.

“The children that participate will be separated into groups of 10 to 12 children; social distancing will be practiced,” said the county release. “Each child will have their temperature taken when they are dropped off, and no children with any flu-like symptoms may attend. Each room will have an aid and/or teacher present as well as a nurse.”