Pelham schools to switch to all-virtual learning for week after holiday recess


All Pelham schools will shift to full-remote instruction Jan. 4 to Jan. 8 because of Covid-19 infections that are expected to occur during the holiday break, said Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ.

“Following the Thanksgiving holiday, we saw a clear increase in the number of Covid-19 cases across the country, the region and our school district,” said Champ. “It is widely expected that following Christmas and New Year’s there will be a similar surge in Covid-19 cases as many families travel and celebrate the holidays with others outside their immediate households.”

Champ acknowledged the inconvenience this shift will cause to families but emphasized the positive effects of a district-wide closure, including “reducing the disruption of shifting back and forth between hybrid and full-remote learning and allowing for more in-person instruction over the long term.”

According to Champ, the decision was reached after much discussion at the Dec. 16 board of education meeting.

“We believe that this approach will allow time for individuals who are unknowingly exposed to learn about their exposures and take necessary steps to test and/or quarantine as appropriate,” said Champ.

During that week, the secondary schools will continue to observe the hybrid-bell schedule, and elementary students will follow their respective virtual learning schedules. The elementary school day will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. The Wednesday of that week will still be a half-day for all students.

Champ encouraged families to continue to adhere to Covid-19 guidelines over the break, including wearing masks, avoiding large gatherings and practicing social distancing.