COVID-19The Examiner

Bedford Schools Close, Disruption of Events Mount Over Coronavirus

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The Pleasantville Farmers Market is moving from Pleasantville Middle School to Memorial Plaza this Saturday to avoid any potential disruptions should schools be forced to close.

The Bedford School District announced Wednesday that its schools will be closed Thursday and Friday after a Fox Lane Middle School staff member was recommended to self-quarantine pending a test for the coronavirus.

Acting Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joel Adelberg informed the school community through a message of the closure to allow crews to sanitize all of the district’s facilities. Wednesday evening’s Board of Education meeting was postponed.

Bedford was the latest school district to close in northern Westchester after the announced closures on Wednesday of the Lakeland and Peekskill school districts. The decision also added to the growing list of cancellations, postponements and disruptions to schedules of events around the area.

Organizers of the Pleasantville Farmers Market announced Wednesday that they had reached a decision to leave Pleasantville Middle School for its Saturday market three weeks early and start the outdoor market on Memorial Plaza this Saturday. The outdoor market was originally set to open on Apr. 4.

Peter Rogovin, president of Foodchester, Inc. which operates the Pleasantville Farmers Market, said with the uncertainty surrounding the local schools and the possibility that district officials could need to close the buildings on short notice, it made sense for the market to be moved outside. The mild weather also made the decision easier, he said.

On Monday, market representatives met with the Village Board to set in motion the process for making the switch.

“The priority on social distancing as people adjust their behavior doesn’t really work for us to be running an indoor market where 100 people from around the county are in a room and the kids have to come into that room,” Rogovin said.

He said the market is also taking all precautions recommended by the Farmers Market Coalition, a national organization that assists market around the U.S. Recommendations include limiting samples of food to requests only, that all vendors wear gloves and setting up washing stations and hand sanitizers, similar to what is done on Pleasantville Day and for the Pleasantville Music Festival.

Executive Director of Market Operations Steven Bates said as long as restaurants and supermarkets remain open the market will attempt to do the same.

“The restaurants are not closed, the (Jacob) Burns is still open so until we get a municipal or health recommendation we close down, our job is to still drive the three parts of the mission,” Bates said.

However, two other popular events in the area, this Saturday’s Mount Kisco St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Mar. 21 Hudson Valley Fermented, have also been affected.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians, which runs the parade, issued a statement Wednesday afternoon announcing the cancellation. It cited guidance from the county and state health departments for communities to limit large gatherings.

“We know this is a beloved and fun event in the Village,” the statement read. “This was a very difficult choice. We hope this action will limit the health risk across the community.”

Henry Leyva, the event chair for Hudson Valley Fermented, said the decision was made to reschedule for Saturday, May 30. Hudson Valley Fermented is the Pleasantville Rotary Club’s biggest fundraiser of the year, with breweries, wineries, cideries and local restaurants offering samples of their products.

This week, Pace University, where the event will take place, switched from conventional classes to online instruction and next week is spring break, he said.

With the ongoing uncertainty, Leyva said it was best to move the event to a future date.

“We didn’t want to be a vehicle for the potential transfer of the virus,” Leyva said.

Tickets purchased will be honored on May 30. For any ticket-holder who cannot make the rescheduled event, they can obtain a refund, transfer the ticket to another person or make the price of the ticket a tax-deductible donation.

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