The Board of Education approved a resolution Tuesday to hire C19/Verbosity to conduct district Covid-19 testing for the school year.
The district has also hired a new covid coordinator, Bridget Gates, and encourages vaccinated students to share proof of vaccination for contact tracing purposes, said Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ.
Officials used the school board meeting to provide updates on the beginning of the new school year.
Board President Jessica DeDomenico said the opening of the new Hutchinson Elementary School Sept. 9 has “provided a beacon of hope and progress” during the difficult times of the pandemic.
DeDomenico said District Clerk Pauline Davies attended a webinar on “suggested communication protocol for public meetings” and that the board’s current practices are aligned with “current legal and best practices.”
On the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Champ said, “It was a great opportunity to see Pelham doing what Pelham does best, and that’s coming together in times of crisis.” She said that families impacted by the storm should tell school administration about their child’s needs so students are supported and connected with available resources.
Instead of the usual summer “Bagels and Locks” program for incoming sixth graders, the middle school held a scavenger hunt and orientation for the class. On the first day, each middle school grade level did activities. At the high school, ninth graders attended an orientation over the summer, which was led by staff, juniors and seniors. The counseling department hosted a tenth grade “meet the counselors” program.
Champ commended the work of faculty in the district who are celebrating 25 years at the schools, including Anna Brown, Mark Finegan, Dexter Jackson, Kathy Lieggi, Miriam Levitt, Joanne Ragosta and Annie Solomine.
Modified sports at the middle school started Sept. 13, with a large turnout of students, the superintendent said. That is except for field hockey, which is being combined with JV field hockey due to low enrollment.
Signs have been placed to indicate gender neutral bathrooms in the music/arts annex, nurse’s office and guidance office in the middle and high schools, said Champ. Additional gender neutral bathrooms will be located in the current superintendent offices’ when construction is finished.
Trustee Ian Rowe said there needs to be an academic dashboard to compare results across the schools.
Steven Garcia, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and personnel, said that through exams and observation reports the schools will be able to see comparisons across the grades until a dashboard is created.
According to Jim Hricay, assistant superintendent for business, there is a shortage of bus drivers. The board approved a motion to work with the Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe districts for busing and transportation services.
Hricay commended the work done by the custodial staff and summer student workers on the facilities additions and renovations that were completed:
Glover Field maintenance
Pelham Memorial High School replacement of cast stone and windows and fire panel replacement
New middle school/high school orchestra room
New PMHS science research room, physics room, art rooms
Middle school pointing and window gasket repair, art room renovations
Prospect Hill gas and infrastructure repairs, progress on the new addition and bathroom renovations
Business offices in the house next to Colonial completed
The next board of education meeting is scheduled for Sept. 29.