Pelham schools to return to pre-pandemic schedules; health precautions remain in place

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The Pelham school district’s reopening advisory task force met on Wednesday to review the district’s plans for the upcoming school year starting on Sept. 9, including the discontinuation of fully remote learning and the return to normal schedules.

All schools will return to the regular daily schedules that were in place prior to the pandemic, with elementary students starting at 8:20 a.m. and dismissing at 3:05 p.m. The middle and high school will begin classes at 8:15 a.m. and dismiss at 2:51 p.m., following the regular bell schedule.

“All individuals, including staff, will be required to submit a daily health screening form attesting that they do not have Covid-19 symptoms and have not been in contact with an individual who has tested positive for Covid-19 prior to entering school,” said Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ in an email. The daily health screening form is the same used during the last school year and can be accessed on the district website or digitally through the ezSCRN app.

Students and staff will still be required to wear masks indoors, thought they will be optional when students and staff are outside. Students will be spaced three-feet apart in classrooms to the extent possible, with the continued use of air purifiers and window exhaust fans. Portable barriers will no longer be used.

The district “strongly urges all eligible teachers, staff and students (ages 12+) to be vaccinated against Covid-19, recognizing that the vaccines are safe and effective and critical to reducing the spread of the virus and mitigating severe disease and hospitalization,” said Champ’s email. Fully vaccinated individuals are currently not required to quarantine after being exposed to someone with Covid-19, and those who need to quarantine will be notified by the district. The district is also pursuing options to conduct Covid-19 testing for staff and students during the school year.

During lunch, students will be spaced six-feet apart when eating, making use of available outdoor space, weather permitting. Free pre-packaged meals will continue to be available to all students from the cafeteria, and all elementary schools will continue to be nut-free.