A school district in Westchester County has postponed the start of in-person learning after becoming aware of a large number of students attending 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.
"After consulting with the Westchester County Department of Health, I can not in good conscience place our students, staff, and families at such risk," Champ said.
Any student who attended the parties is being asked to voluntarily quarantine for 14 days, Champ said.
The district is operating under its Distance Learning Plan for Thursday, Sept. 10 and Friday, Sept. 11.
"I fully understand the difficulties such a late change in plans presents and we are deeply disappointed to do so following months of planning and preparing our schools to welcome students and staff back to their classrooms," Champ said. "Please know that this is not a decision that was taken lightly, but one that was made with the best interests of our students and staff at heart.
"Over the next few days, we will continue to coordinate with the Department of Health to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Pelham.
"As we do so, it is incumbent upon all of us, including our students, families, and members of the community to do our part in limiting risky behavior that puts us all in harm's way. Together, and only together, can we create the safe conditions that are necessary to welcome our students back to school."
Additional information will be providing as it becomes available.
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