Pelham schools to start year in hybrid mode that includes required daily health form, altered schedules

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Pelham’s school will start classes on Sept. 10 using the hybrid model, according to emails sent Friday to elementary, middle and high school families in the Pelham Union Free School District.

Students assigned to cohort A will attend school on Sept. 10 and cohort B will have their first day of in-person instruction on Sept. 11, said the emails. Starting Sept. 14, cohort A students will attend school Mondays and Tuesdays and cohort B will attend Thursdays and Fridays, with Wednesdays being half days of instruction alternating between two groups. Cohort A will be in school on the first Wednesday of the school year, Sept. 16. On the days they’re not in school, students will attend the same classes virtually.

For the first two days of school, Pelham Middle School’s population will follow a staggered alphabetical arrival schedule which will allow for students to receive class schedules and attend “brief orientation sessions while still maintaining proper social distancing and avoiding the congregation of large groups,” according to the email from Principal Lynn Sabia and Assistant Principal Sean Llewellyn. Starting Sept. 14, PMS students will follow a modified bell schedule with 35 minute periods. The staggered arrival and bell schedules can be found in the emails.

High school students will arrive at staggered times based on grade starting at 7:40 a.m., said the high school letter. Students will wait in the cafeteria or blue gymnasium until 8:15 a.m., when they will go to their first period class, which starts at 8:20 a.m., and then follow their schedules with modified class times.

Elementary students will have virtual office hours from 8:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and from 2:45-3:00 p.m. everyday. These are for students who have watched classes at home that day. Elementary arrival will be staggered between 9 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. and dismissal between 2:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. Students will enter the buildings in the morning from designated entrances, which have been detailed in emails from each elementary school.

The hybrid model for schooling requires each student to present a health check form every morning before entering school. A mobile app will also be available as an alternative, the district said. Students who do not have completed forms will have their temperature taken by a staff member upon arrival. Those with a fever over 100 degrees or any other Covid symptoms cannot attend in-person classes.

High school students will be provided with three-sided personal dividers to maintain distance, which they must bring to school each day and from class to class. According to the high school email, “Use of these barriers will be at the discretion of the teacher and may be used for small group work, eating, mask breaks, etc.”

Students are required to come to school with masks and maintain six-foot distancing from others when possible, the letters said. Students will have mask breaks throughout the day, but must keep their face coverings on for the majority of the school day. Off-campus lunch privileges have been extended to all high school grades in order to minimize crowding. Lockers will not be provided this year, so middle and high school students will have to carry all their belongings in backpacks.