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COVID-19: School District In Westchester Announces Reopening Plans After Large Parties

Pelham High School
Pelham High School Photo Credit: File photo

A school district in Westchester County has announced reopening plans after a large number of students attended parties.

Pelham Public School District Superintendent Dr. Cheryl H. Champ said in a letter to families and communities that she was made aware on Wednesday, Sept. 9 of the "parties in the woods for the last two evenings."

She said "the number of students reported to have been at these gatherings potentially totals over 100 teens and video from these parties shows students engaging in risky behavior, failing to practice physical distancing, and not wearing masks or face coverings. 

"Needless to say, this is extremely disappointing at any time, but for students to do so just days before our schools were set to reopen potentially puts our whole school community at risk.

"These parties have the distinct potential of spreading COVID-19 among the students who attended, their siblings who may attend other schools in the district, and the community at large."

As a result, the start of in-person learning is being postponed until Monday, Sept. 14. 

In a new statement over the weekend, Champ said, "Over the past two days we have worked to determine the scope of social gatherings this past week, to assess the level of risk to siblings, and to work with the Department of Health to develop appropriate next steps."

Elementary Schools & Pelham Middle School

"In reviewing the information obtained by the District, we have determined that these gatherings were only attended by high school students," Champ said. "Additionally, the Department of Health has indicated that the risk to siblings in this situation is low. With that in mind all four elementary schools and Pelham Middle School will return for in-person learning under the Hybrid Plan on Monday, Sept. 14.

"As per the calendar, Cohort A will report for in-person instruction on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and Cohort B will report for in-person instruction on Thursday and Friday this week. Cohorts that are not scheduled to report in person will attend classes remotely per the Hybrid Plan. As a reminder, Wednesday will be a noon dismissal for both Hybrid and Remote students."

Pelham Memorial High School

"While we recognize that not all high school students were in attendance, our investigation indicated that the scope of the situation warranted a comprehensive approach.

"All PMHS students will continue to learn remotely through at least Wednesday, Sept. 16. During this time, students should follow the Hybrid Bell schedule, which is available on the PMHS website. Consistent with the hybrid schedule, school will end at noon on Wednesday.

"PMHS will open for in-person instruction under the Hybrid Plan on Thursday, Sept. 17 for those students who can present a negative COVID-19 test that was administered on or after September 14.

To facilitate this testing, the district is making arrangements for easily accessible COVID-19 testing on Monday, Sept. 14 and Tuesday, Sept. 15."

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