Welcome Back Letter

Farid Johnson

Dear Siwanoy Families

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year! As this school year opens in unprecedented times, the way we think about school has also changed. Last week we outlined both our full virtual and hybrid learning models. While we hope to open in our hybrid learning environment, we know that at any moment, given the uncertainty of this pandemic, we may need to pivot to our full virtual model at a moment’s notice. 

I hope that the following information provides you with clarity as we move forward through the start of this school year. If you were unable to attend this morning’s presentation, the meeting was recorded, and you access it here: Siwanoy Reopening Presentation 2020/2021

Siwanoy Presentation Slides


This model provides for both in person and virtual learning to help decrease the density inside the physical school building. Students have been assigned a cohort to help balance the number of students within a classroom. It is important to note that guidance from the New York State of Education recommends that our Special Education and English as a Second Language students attend school every day. During the hybrid learning model, if families have chosen the full virtual option only, students will follow the hybrid learning model schedule.

Hybrid Learning Model Schedule

Provides for virtual office hours for students at home from 8:45-9:00 am and 2:45-3:00 pm daily.

Students arrive to school between 9:00-9:15 am

Lunch and recess will run from 11:15 am- 12:15 pm

Dismissal of students will be between 2:15-2:45 pm

Attendance will be taken daily at the start of the school day and at 12:15 pm

Wednesdays are a 12:00 pm dismissal for all students when we have a full 5 day school week

Reimagining Kindergarten

Each incoming kindergarten student will be assigned a time to come in and meet the teacher, see the classroom, learn some new routines and engage in a quick screening activity within the first four days of school.

The classroom teacher will greet the student and family outside allowing parents a chance to meet the teacher as well.

The classroom teacher will also host a Morning Meeting through Google Meet with the students on each of those first four days so that students can see the teacher and their classmates without a mask.

Arrival Procedures

Arrival Time: 9:00am - 9:15am

Arrival Procedures: Upon arrival, students will be directed to different doors based on their grade. Please ensure that your child has their Covid screening form in hand. This is crucial to ensuring a speedy, safe, and organized arrival process. We will have monitors, volunteers and staff members present to assist with arrival procedures. If you are dropping off, please do not park in the drop off lane. We will have people to direct your child to the appropriate entrance after they exit your car. 

Kindergarten - Enter under the archway beneath the main entrance.

1st Grade and 2nd Grade - Enter through the doors to the left of the main entrance.

3rd Grade and 4th Grade - Enter through the main entrance utilizing both sides of the stairs.

5th Grade - Enter through the doors to the right of the main entrance.

*Please ensure that your child does not come to school before 9am. There is no supervision and we do not want children playing in the front or back of the school for safety and distancing purposes


Daily attendance will be taken at the start of each school day and after lunch. Students who are at home will need to answer a question posed by the classroom teacher on their Google Classroom page. 

Should your child be unable to participate in the day’s learning, please email or call Ms. McGreal, Nurse Keller, and your child’s classroom teacher.

Hall & Stairwell Directions

There are 6 foot markers on the wall to help students manage their distance between peers.

Mask Breaks

Students and staff are required to wear masks every day.

In many classrooms where desks are located 6 feet apart and student barriers are up on the desk, students will be allowed to take mask breaks in the classroom.

In the event that desks can not be located 6 feet apart, or when the weather is accommodating, teachers may take students outside to take a mask break.

Bathroom Use

Classes will be assigned times to use an assigned bathroom closest to their classroom.

Students needing to use the bathroom outside of their class’ time frame may do so, but may need to wait for a class to finish their bathroom use.

Each bathroom had a touchless faucet installed for student use.

When possible, students will use the bathroom one at a time to ensure social distancing.

Lunch & Recess

The lunch & recess block will take place from 11:15 am-12:15 pm

All classrooms are designated as nut free so please pack only nut free snacks and lunch.

Students will eat at desks spaced six feet apart. This may take place in classrooms or in alternative locations that allow for proper distancing. 

Classes will be assigned a rotating outdoor recess spot. The goal is for students to have a social break with their class cohort only.

We are in need of parent volunteers to help supervise our lunch & recess block of time.


Dismissal Time: 2:15pm - 2:45pm

Walkers: Students with a signed permission slip will dismiss first, at 2:15. 

Grades 3-5: Dismiss at 2:20.

Grades K-2: Dismiss at 2:30.

Dismissal Procedures

Students will be dismissed from different doors based on their grade. Students will wait indoors, socially distant, near their assigned exit doors. When parents arrive to pick up their student, staff at the door will call for the student to exit the building. 

Walkers - dismiss from the main entrance doors. 

Kindergarten and Grade 3 - dismiss from the doors under the archway beneath the main entrance. 

Grade 1 and Grade 4 - dismiss from doors to the left of the main entrance (near Library)

Grade 2 and Grade 5 - dismiss from doors to the right of the main entrance (near Gym)


Supply Lists- Please click below to view the supply list by grade.

3-5L Supply List

Kindergarten Supply List

First Grade Supply List

Second Grade Supply List

Third Grade Supply List

Fourth Grade Supply List

Fifth Grade Supply List

Student Parent Handbook- The 2020-21 school year will be like none we have experienced before due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This handbook contains information about how our schools will operate as well as the procedures that are in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, keep our students and staff healthy, and provide a robust and quality education during these times. To access the handbook, please click the following link: https://www.pelhamschools.org/reopening-plan-2020-21/2020-21-student-parent-handbook

Health & Safety Tips from Nurse Keller- Please view the following video by Nurse Keller with your child regarding ways to stay healthy at school! The video can be accessed here: Siwanoy Health and Safety Video

Social- Emotional Wellness Resources for Families- Our school psychologists have put together resources that families may find helpful as we begin the transition back to school. Please use the following links to access resources for:

Dealing with Adult Stress- Click the links to access the handout and video

Helping Children Cope with Stress- Click the links to access the handout and video

Separation Anxiety- Click the links to access the handout and video

Typical Stress Responses in Children- Click the links to access the handout and video

Student Wellness Survey- As we prepare for the reopening of our school, we want to hear from you if you have any specific concerns regarding the social-emotional and mental health of your child.  While we understand that everyone has experienced some level of anxiety and isolation, it would be helpful for us to know if your child has experienced a loss, a level of reaction to the pandemic that deeply concerns you, or is exhibiting behaviors that are not consistent compared to prior to the pandemic. What you share with us will be confidential and will not be added to your child's school file in any way.  This information is for my own knowledge and will be shared ONLY with pupil personnel staff in the building in an effort to support your child when school reopens. The link to the survey can be found here: https://forms.gle/tDmPTTQxUM8x8LG66


School Calendar- to view the approved School Calendar for the 2020-2021 school year please follow this link: PELHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS 2020-2021 CALENDAR. To view the calendar indicating when each cohort is in school, please visit the following links: 

Cohort A Calendar: https://www.pelhamschools.org/reopening-plan-2020-21/hybrid-model/cohort-a-calendar

Cohort B Calendar: https://www.pelhamschools.org/reopening-plan-2020-21/hybrid-model/cohort-b-in-person-calendar-clone


COVID Student Health Questionnaire- Each day, students will need to arrive at school with their COVID Student Health Questionnaire completed. Any student arriving without the completed form will be escorted to our school’s main entrance to have their temperature taken. To access the form, please click the following link:  Student Health Questionnaire

Virtual Meetings Only- In order to continue to decrease density inside of the school building, for the time being, all meetings for now will be virtual in nature.

Birthday Celebrations-  Last year we instituted a new procedure for celebrating birthdays. As a school, we want to continue recognizing our students’ special day while being sensitive to our District Wellness Policy, student medical issues, and our school and district commitment to equity and access and creating a community of inclusiveness. Therefore, all elementary schools have replaced edible treats with non-food celebrations. Students, teachers, and parents will collaborate to choose an appropriate celebration option for each child. Please note however, that in order to maintain our social distancing protocols, we will be unable to allow visitors into the school or classroom.

Walkers- If you would like your child to walk home from school, please complete the following form and either email or return the form to Ms. McGreal. It can be emailed to kmcgreal@pelhamschools.org . The form can be found here: Walker Form

We look forward to kicking off the school year on September 10, 2020! Please note that this is a Cohort A day with a 12:00 pm dismissal.


Farid Johnson

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