Pelham schools will now choose reopening plan in mid-August; programs available for review on web

Pelham schools will now choose reopening plan in mid-August; programs available for review on web

The Pelham Union Free School District will decide which of three reopening plans to start the year with sometime in mid-August, said Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ. The announcement follows the district’s filing of the plans with the New York State Department of Education on Friday.

Each plan can be read on the district website:

The timing of this decision changed from last week, as school officials said last Wednesday that their choice of plan would be made once Gov. Andrew Cuomo affirmed the region’s infection rate was below the required 5%. The seven-day average for was 1.1% in the Mid-Hudson Region as of August 1, which includes Westchester County, according to the state Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard. However, Cuomo’s standard for a greenlight for schools to open requires using a 14-day average.

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“Cohort assignments for a hybrid model will be sent in mid-August so that parents/guardians can plan in the event that it is enacted at any point,” wrote Champ in an email. “Additional school-specific information will be shared at a later date. It is important to understand that the district may shift plans prior to the start of school, or after school begins depending on a number of factors, including changes to the regional infection rate or local conditions.”

If the regional infection rate climbs above 9% on a seven-day average between now and opening day, schools can’t open.

FAQs have also been posted on the three Pelham plans.

Champ said Pelham continues to work on accommodations for students who can’t return to school due to their health or the health of those in their immediate household. “However, the district does not yet know if the governor will allow or require districts to provide choice to all parents regarding whether their children will return to in-person instruction,” she wrote. “To assist with planning for these scenarios, we are seeking additional information from families.”

Families were requested to complete this survey by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 5.

“We are hopeful that when September 8 comes, our students and teachers will finally be able to connect in person and we can begin to deliver the robust educational program we all have come to expect from our schools,” said Champ. “With that said, we must all understand that whichever plan is in effect, the 2020-21 school year will pose significant challenges for all involved.”