Superintendent Champ outlines three paths for fall: In school learning, at home or a hybrid


Pelham Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ said Friday the school district is considering three options for opening, including full in-person instruction, an expanded distance learning approach and a hybrid schedule.

The superintendent’s update was sent out following the release of a 145-page set of guidelines for reopening schools statewide by the New York Department of Education on Thursday. The rules include a July 31 deadline for New York school districts to file their plans for instruction in the fall with the education department.

“While we await the final decision about how classes will resume in September, the district continues to prepare for a variety of scenarios,” Champ wrote.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday schools will be cleared to open for the fall if in the first week of August the region is in phase four and reporting an average daily Covid-19 infection rate of 5% or lower over 14 days.

If between that week and the start of school, the regional infection rate spikes above an average of 9% over seven days, the schools can’t open, Cuomo said during a news conference streamed online.

After clearing the infection rate hurdle, districts must have plans approved by the education department that follow the agency’s rules.

The first of the options under consideration by the Pelham Union Free School District is full, in-person instruction with safety measures that follow health guidelines. The New York State Department of Health has issued a set rules for schools separate from the education department’s guidelines. The second approach would involve an advanced version of the spring’s distance-learning plan for all students, while a third hybrid approach would utilize a combination of in-person and distanced instruction to avoid health risks.

Feedback from students, parents and school administrators was involved in the development of the three plans through the use of online surveys in both the spring and summer, Champ said. In addition, more feedback from parents on a variety of district committees will be collected as plans are finished.

Champ said the needs of students, the potential volatility of school availability and the feasibility of learning models for families are all being taken into consideration as the district crafts its opening plan.