Among fall school options: Alternate days or weeks in person or elementary/middle live and PMHS virtual – Champ


Editor’s note: This write-up was provided by the Manor Club based on a Zoom session the club hosted with Pelham School Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ.

Pelham School Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ is studying possible options for reopening Pelham elementary schools of every other day in person, every other week in person or AM/PM sessions as well as the possible full reopening of all in person classes or all distance learning. Another option for reopening all schools is elementary and middle school in person while high school is on distance learning.

All options are in the planning stages as she awaits guidance from NY State.

Speaking Monday night (June 29) at a Zoom meeting sponsored by The Manor Club, Dr. Champ reviewed the possible reopening options and how she is studying them with the advice of school administrators, teachers, staff and parents.

Dr. Champ said NY State guidance on how schools might proceed to reopening is not expected until mid-July. If that timetable holds, she said plans for Pelham’s reopening likely would then be ready in August.

She said that the feedback from parents and staff following the spring distance learning experience has been the following:

  • More live instruction needed at the elementary level
  • Live instruction everyday, more akin to normal bell schedule
  • Concerns about emotional well-being of students and screen time
  • Parents want students back in school, safely

During the current planning, Dr. Champ said the focus is on health and safety, logistics, scheduling, educational programs, technology, social/emotional needs and communications.

She said that a Full Return to School with in person classes would include the following:

  • CDC & NYSED Guidelines as available
  • Modifications to use of facilities
  • Health and safety practices

Full Distance Learning, she said, would include the following:

  • More robust live experience at the elementary level
  • Expanded model at the secondary level
  • Programs to support learning needs
  • Importance of relationship building

In addition to health and safety, Dr. champ said these considerations must be taken into account in the planning:

  • Social and emotional wellness of students
  • Educational progress
  • How parents will manage return to work if there are alternating schedules
  • Students/staff with medical issues themselves or in the home

She answered more than 40 “chat” messages after her presentation, which was attended by almost 90 people.