In order to reopen Pelham elementary schools in the fall, School Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Champ is in the process of studying possible options such as children attending school in person every other day, students attending school in person every other week, AM/PM sessions, all distance learning or a full reopening of schools. An additional option would be a reopening of elementary and middle school, while high school would remain distance learning. All options are in the planning stage as New York schools wait for guidance from Governor Cuomo.
Speaking at a Zoom meeting sponsored by The Manor Club on June 29, Dr. Champ reviewed the possible reopening options and how she is studying them with the advice of school administrators, teachers, staff and parents.
Dr. Champ stated that NY State guidance on reopening schools is expected by mid-July. If that timetable holds, a plan would be ready by August.
According to feedback supplied by parents and staff following the Distance Learning experience:
• More live instruction is needed at the elementary level
• Daily live instruction similar to a normal bell schedule is needed
• There are concerns regarding the emotional well-being and use of screen time of students
• Parents want students back in school, safely
During the current planning, Dr. Champ said the focus is on health and safety, logistics, scheduling, educational programs, technology, social/emotional needs and communications.
Champ added that a full return to school with in-person classes would include the following:
• CDC & NYSED Guidelines as available
• Modifications to use of facilities
• Health and safety practices
Full Distance Learning would include the following:
• More robust live experience at the elementary level
• Expanded model at the secondary level
• Programs to support learning needs
• Importance of relationship building
In addition to health and safety, Dr. Champ said certain considerations must be taken into account during the planning stage:
• Social and emotional wellness of students
• Educational progress
• How parents will manage to return to work if there are alternating schedules
• Students/staff with medical issues
Dr. Champ answered more than 40 “chat” messages after her presentation, which was attended by almost 90 people.
--Submitted by The Manor Club