September 1, 2020
Dear Pelham Memorial High School Families,
We are writing to send a brief update to our electronic summer mailing of Friday August 28th.
Several families have asked us to clarify our daily arrival procedures and the instructional schedule for Wednesdays. For clarity, we are re-sending the letter with slight revision.
Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year!
Even now during these unprecedented times, we enter this year with optimism and purpose.
Optimism, because we recognize that schools and communities are about people. We are committed to valuing and celebrating every member of the PMHS community.
We have had a busy summer preparing for fall reopening and the safe return of our staff and students. In the pages that follow, you will find important information regarding the upcoming school year. Please carefully review this information to ensure that you, your child and family understand our expectations and procedures for this year.
Each of us is responsible for each other. Thank you for your partnership and collaboration as we create a healthy, caretaking and meaningful year of learning for every student and staff member.
We hope you enjoy the remainder of your summer and we look forward to welcoming you on September 10th!
Hybrid Model (Revised)
This fall, in order to ensure appropriate social distancing, we will begin the school year following a “hybrid” schedule in which a cohort of half of our students will attend school live while the other half views classes and completes work virtually at home. You should already have received an email indicating whether your child will attend school with cohort “A” or cohort “B.” If you have not, please contact the main office. Cohort “A” students will attend their first day of school on September 10 and cohort “B” students will attend their first day of school on September 11.
Cohort “A” students will attend school in person on Mondays and Tuesdays and cohort “B” students will attend school in person on Thursdays and Fridays. Each cohort will alternate on Wednesdays, with cohort “A” attending school on the first Wednesday (September 16) and cohort “B” attending school on the next Wednesday (September 23). You can access the Cohort A calendar here and the Cohort B calendar here. In order to best accommodate the needs of both students in school and at home, as well as allow faculty the ability to successfully instruct students in both contexts, we will also be following a different bell schedule during hybrid instruction.
During any week in which there are five full days of school (Monday through Friday with no holidays), we will follow an abbreviated schedule of classes on Wednesdays, with students dismissed at noon. During any shortened week in which there are four full days of school or less, Wednesdays will be full instructional days, with students dismissed at 2:15. Cohort A and B days, as well as early dismissal days, will be listed on our district calendar. For the most up-to-date information on our hybrid model, check our district’s website.
Please go to the PMHS website to review the 2020-2021 Student- Parent Handbook for the most up-to-date information on the Reopening plan and safety measures, as well as the District’s Code of Conduct.
In order to enter the building, each student will need to hand in a Student Health Questionnaire Form signed by a parent or guardian. The district will also be providing a smartphone app as an alternative to this paper form soon. Students who have a fever of greater than 100.0 degrees F or who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 must not report to school. If a student arrives at school without the health form, they will be escorted to a designated area where a member of the school staff will take their temperature.
Arrival and Dismissal Procedures (Revised)
To ensure the smooth opening of each school day, it is imperative that students arrive with their already-completed health check forms. Students arriving for “0” period, which begins at 7:40am, should arrive no later than 7:25am. In order to facilitate a smooth arrival process and alleviate crowding by the entrances, we are encouraging families, whenever possible, to have students arrive in tiers by grade cohort:
- 9th grade at 7:40 a.m.
- 10th grade at 7:50 a.m.
- 11th grade at 8:00 a.m.
- 12th grade at 8:10 a.m.
Students who arrive with their completed Student Health Questionnaire may enter through either the Franklin Place “District Office” Entrance or the Colonial Avenue High School Main Entrance. Students who do not have their completed health-check form will be directed to the “Boys” entrance (the word “Boys” is carved into the building). It is located on Colonial Avenue to the left of the Main Entrance. There, the student’s temperature will be taken to determine if they are cleared to participate in classes or required to be sent home. Prior to 8:15am, students who enter the building will wait in one of several designated spaces in the building. All students will be sent to class by 8:15 a.m. If a student has a temperature, a monitor will walk that student to the high school fitness center while they await parent pickup.
Students will follow a staggered dismissal at the end of the day (2:15 p.m.) to limit congestion in the hallways. Students should leave the building immediately upon dismissal and avoid congregating in any of the hallways. Students should exit the building through either the Franklin Place “District Office” door or Colonial Avenue High School Main Entrance.
- High school students will not be allowed to enter the campus via any middle school entrances.
- Zero period students will follow these same procedures at 7:40 a.m.
Virtual Academy Period (2:20- 2:55)
Academy period will occur M- F from 2:20- 2:55 virtually, and will be reserved for students learning from home. This will ensure that students learning virtually have opportunities to interact with, and pose questions to, their teachers. Each teacher will share links to their Google Meets with their classes.
Expectations for Virtual Learners
On days when students are learning from home, they are expected to be present virtually at the start of class, with their camera on, and maintain their camera on, as directed by their teacher.
Expectations for In-Person Learners
In order to ensure the health and safety of all members of our school community, students must adhere to the following expectations. Students are expected to come to school in a mask each day, with their health screening form completed and in hand. When in hallways, students must maintain 6’ distancing from others when possible and must keep their face coverings on. Six foot markings have been taped to walls so that students can visualize proper distancing. Directional arrows have also been added to stairwells to control the flow of traffic. Students will travel from class to class, however the school will stagger release times to reduce the number of students in the hallways at any given time. The annex stairwell will be used by high school students only. Students and staff will use designated stairwells for ascending and descending. Students and staff must stay on the correct (right) side when ascending or descending.
Each student will be provided a portable, three-sided barrier that can be used to create additional separation in certain circumstances. Use of these barriers will be at the discretion of the teacher and may be used for small group work, eating, mask breaks, etc. Students are expected to take care of their barriers and use them appropriately. High school students are expected to carry their barriers to and from each class and take them home with them at the end of the day. Barriers should be labeled with students’ names.
Students will be permitted to remove their face coverings periodically throughout the day. These breaks may occur outdoors, weather permitting, or in areas where sufficient distancing is possible. Mask breaks will be provided at the discretion of the teacher.
Lockers will not be available to students to store their personal belongings. Students will keep their personal belongings and materials for class in their backpacks. Teachers will limit the amount of material that students need to carry to and from school on a daily basis.
Off Campus Lunch
In order to give students a much needed mask break, all students will have the privilege of going off-campus during their lunch period. It is critical that students be back on-campus and in their classrooms for the start of their next period class. This is a privilege and may be revoked for students who cannot meet these expectations. For any parents/guardians who would prefer for their student(s) to remain on campus during lunch, please complete the enclosed Off-Campus Refusal Form.
Study Halls/ Individual Decision Time (IDT)
All 9th and 10th grade students will have study halls during their non-instructional periods. This will afford students an opportunity to keep on top of their schoolwork. All 12th grade students and 11th grade students with an 85% or higher average are allowed to participate in our IDT program and leave campus during their non-instructional periods. This program is also offered to 10th grade students during 2nd semester. Parents/guardians of 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students who would prefer for their student(s) to remain on campus during non-instructional periods, please complete the attached Off-Campus Refusal Form. It is critical that students be back on-campus and in their classrooms for the start of their next period class. This is a privilege and may be revoked for students who cannot meet these expectations. 9th grade students and 10th grade students are not permitted to leave campus during their study hall periods. Failure to adhere to this rule will result in disciplinary action.
Counseling Updates (Revised)
Student schedules are now available in the Infinite Campus portal. Both students and parents can log in to view student schedules.
Students may request schedule change using our Add/Drop Google Form up until October 7. In order to ensure the health and safety of all students and faculty, schedule changes will be reviewed in conjunction with cohort sizes, room capacity, and adherence to social distancing requirements. As a result, schedule changes will take longer to work through than in previous years. Schedule changes for core classes will be looked at before elective changes.
PMHS has just been approved by the College Board to administer the PSAT for 11th grade students on Saturday, October 17th. 10th grade students will have the opportunity to sit for the Pre-ACT in March. Further details will be forthcoming.
If you know your student will be absent because of illness or for some other permissible reason, please contact Karen Mann in the Main Office by 9:00 a.m. at (914) 738-8110 ex. 1124 on the morning of the absence. Please refer to the Student Handbook for a detailed explanation of school attendance policies and procedures.
All secondary students kept their Chromebooks for the summer. Students are expected to bring Chromebooks to school, fully charged, every day. In order to successfully use the District issued Chromebooks, the District network, and Infinite Campus portal, students will need to sign a document indicating that they have read our district’s Acceptable Use Policy and both students and parents need to sign a document indicating that they have read our Student Portal User Agreement. This document should be signed by hand and students should hand these in to their homeroom (first period) teachers by Friday, September 18. Alternately, students can drop their forms off in the main office.
There remains a critical shortage of parking spaces at PMHS and students/families should be aware that all parking spaces are reserved and assigned to school staff. There are only a few designated spaces for visitor parking. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer parking for students. Please be aware of the parking restrictions established by the Villages of Pelham and Pelham Manor, as they are strictly enforced.
We hope you enjoy the remainder of your summer and we look forward to welcoming you on September 10th!