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Maggie in the gardenMaggie FavrettiThis letter was written by formere SHS teacher Maggie Favretti:

Help With Emergency Education
You didn't ask for my advice, but if you have 3 or 4 minutes, I might be able to offer some guidance from my resilient communities and "crisis education" learning and work.

I began my teaching career in Scarsdale in 1985. In 87 I went to VT, and returned in 1995. I retired in 2018, after one of the most positive professional and community experiences I could have imagined. A big part of that experience is the very teachers who spoke the other night in an unprecedented and powerful way. Reading the summary of their comments made me weep.

When people used to ask me why "everyone" wanted to teach in Scarsdale, I never hesitated to answer, and in one word. Trust. Parents entrusted their children to me, and I trusted the community to sustain an ecosystem of support for the teachers, the school, and for other people's children. I am grieving right now, along with my former colleagues, parents, and lifelong friends.

Since before I retired, I have been studying and working in "emergency education," or, resilient education in times of crisis. Resilient communities are resilient because of trust. That trust drives people to turn toward each other in disaster, and to stay focused on gathering expertise from all ages and sectors to develop consensus solutions. In her book, A Paradise Built in Hell, Rebecca Solnit describes how oftentimes disasters activate our better natures, driving us toward each other in neighborly compassion. Resilience is relational.

After working with superintendents, principals, teachers and families from school districts that have experienced all kinds of crises from tornados to landslides to fires, floods, suicides, water/air poisoning, hurricanes, earthquakes, starvation, extreme heat and COVID, I can say with certainty that you have the hardest and most essential job of all. Leadership plays a critical role in sustaining trust and unity. This trust in turn sustains you and makes it possible to succeed. The job of the leader in crisis is to ensure safety, facilitate consensus, bring people together with open listening, and build clarity of purpose. To protect the consensus by inspiring participation in a transparent process. To avoid giving in to the crush of urgency. To stay focused on the consensus (in this case) you spent the summer building, by working with the Restart Committees to address the remaining unmet needs and making the consensus plan be the best it could possibly be. Without this, trust is lost, and so is direction. If you lose both, trust and direction, you drown along with the community in urgency, fear and frustration, loss and pain.

Here are some recommendations, begging your forgiveness if you are already following these protocols:

1. Throw out the recent parent survey. That "binding decision" language is born from (your very natural) inclination to manage the situation, but raises anxiety in a time of crisis. This is particularly the case with well-meaning people who want to do what you ask but don't have enough information to begin to understand the implications of the options. Many parents opted for "in person" because they thought it would be easier for the district if they changed their minds to virtual at the last minute or once they understood the level of risk, but they have little appetite for endangering the teachers. After the remarks the other night, they are in a panic because they value the trusting relationship they have/had with teachers. Ossining asked for parental choice but also assured people they would be able to change their minds as the situation unfolded, and also asked parents to contribute ideas for addressing concerns about virtual and hybrid instruction. Things seem calmer there.

2. Be clear about what the District is realistically able to do with regard to "best practices" in safety. Enter that information into your risk matrix, with clear eyes about HVAC systems, available PPE, available funding, staffing realities and new needs (hall monitors?), adolescent psychology and behavior.

3. Listen to what teachers know and support them. They ARE the school. First, they need to know you take their safety and mental health seriously. Second, they need to be supported to do their job (which they love doing!) as well as they can under the circumstances. Online and in person instruction cannot take place simultaneously. And both socially distanced and virtual are novel methodologies for teachers and require significantly more time to plan. As you know, students take their cues about resilience and anxiety from their teachers as well as from their parents.

4. Be clear with parents about what the Restart Committee's plan is/was, as well as the current plan(s), and run them both (all?) through a standard decision matrix to determine both how well each meets the priorities of the community/District constituencies.

5. Establish clear and realistic (not aspirational) likelihoods and matrices about risk. To discern risk tolerance, consider predictable situations, in table-top exercises (if you haven't already). For example, some students will be vectors. Not all students will wear masks or social distance properly. Some teachers may be vectors. What will happen when...table-top exercises (simulations) also help to uncover what additional staff or expenses might be needed to keep people safe, and participation should be open to the public.

6. Stay focused on making the safest plan also the best and most equitable, as the safety of everyone should be the top priority. If the safest plan is to have students stay home, then we should spend the next weeks addressing the issues for the students and families for whom that creates hardship.

The anxiety around the "binding" parent survey, and the last-minute changes plunging the teachers and the community into an even deeper world of uncertainty and risk are compounding the already challenging mental health situation. This is a time when teachers and parents BOTH need compassion and clarity, and so do you. Choose the path safest for everyone and focus on keeping people together to create an equitable and inclusive implementation plan.

With deep regard,
Maggie Favretti

stormphoto(Updated 8/6) As of the morning of August 6, the Con Edison outage map shows that 1,443 out of 6,230 customers in the 10583 zip code are without power. The message from Scarsdale Village says, "ConEd Incident Command advises that the target for restoring service to the vast majority of customers is Sunday, August 09,  in Scarsdale; however, some outages in the region will continue into next week. Restorations continue hour-by-hour, daily. We are requesting more support.”

(From August 5) Here we go again. The power is out and Con Edison crews are no where to be found. As in previous storms, the utility is not staffed to restore power in a timely fashion. In fact, they are offering no timeline for restoration and say they are waiting for crews to arrive from other parts of the county.

As of 4 pm on Wednesday, there has been little progress in restoring power to Scarsdale. The outage map shows that 1,746 customers in Scarsdale remain without power – and that means no air conditioning, refrigeration and lights. With afternoon temperatures reaching 89 degrees, it makes for a very frustrating situation, especially since many are working, or should we say, trying to work from home.

At 12:30 pm today, Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner reported on a call municipal leaders had with Con Edison this morning and the news was not good. He said, “Municipal officials are angry,” and “ Con Ed is unprepared. They have not provided an estimated dates or times when power will be restored.

The utility said that 124,000 people in Westchester were out of power yesterday, and as of the morning of August 5, 94,000 remain dark.. Con Ed has 220 line personnel working and they are dealing with public safety and road closures.

Feiner reports that the utility was “short staffed yesterday and they are waiting for more personnel to come later today to help out. They expect to ask for crews to be sent in from around the country. Crews are working to assess damage and restore power after the storm caused widespread damage. They expect to prioritize 143 critical customers - nursing homes and hospitals for restoration. Over 400 roads have been closed.”

He said that this was the second largest outage since Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Feiner said that “Most officials were very upset with the news. As one official said "here we go again. Every time there is a storm we hear the same thing--crews are on the way. Why weren't resources put in place in advance of this outage?"

At 4:45 pm, Scarsdale Village Manager Steve Pappalardo echoed some of Feiner’s comments. He said, “During Con Ed’s regional emergency operations phone conference today, they advised that a system-wide restoration target would be announced late this afternoon. As of now, that target has not been released. We will update the community when we know more. In the interim, ConEd related that there are presently 28 “Cut and Clear” crews operating within their service territory, and for 230 Line Personnel, which restore electric service. ConEd has activated 156 mutual-aid personnel, and expects an additional 100 by this evening. Additionally they are presently negotiating fly-in support from other utilities nationally.

There are currently four Con Ed crews working in Scarsdale with reopening roadways currently closed due to downed electrical wires and debris, our priority. These include the arterial and collector roads of Route 125-Weaver Street, Palmer Road and Heathcote Road. Village personnel assist ConEd with priority identification and tree clearing and clean-up.”

What the utility is offering is free ice to those without power at the Cross County Shopping Center at 8000 Mall Walk in Yonkers. However, that will be little consolation to those who are now going to spend a second night in the dark.

garage2Scarsdale Improvement Corp is proposing the construction of a 130 space, 3-level parking garage with an entrance on Overlook Road.The influences of the COVID crisis and racial strife continue to be felt on the local level when both were on the agenda at the Village Board meeting on July 14.

Both the Mayor and the Village Manager conveyed information on how the virus is affecting Scarsdale and warned residents to continue to be vigilant for the safety of themselves and their neighbors. In response to concerns about inclusion, diversity and racism in Scarsdale, the Mayor formed the Ad Hoc Council to Combat Racism and Bias.


About the virus, the Mayor said that the most recent stats showed that there were six active cases in Scarsdale, up from just one case last week. He urged everyone to continue to follow CDC guidelines including maintaining social distancing, wearing a mask in public places, washing hands frequently and refraining from touching your face. He quoted CDC Director Robert Redfield who said that if everyone wears a mask the virus could be under control within four to six weeks.

Village Manager Steve Pappalardo also noted the many ways the virus has affected life in Scarsdale. He said, “It’s been four months since village hall was closed. The crisis is is still far from over. He recounted the many ways life has changed at Village Hall including masks, temperature checks, social distancing floor markers, plexiglass dividers, limits on elevator usage and hand sanitizer. He said, “We are living in the midst of a pandemic” and urged everyone to follow guidelines to safeguard the community.

Ad Hoc Council to Combat Racism and Bias

The Mayor read a resolution concerning the formation of the Ad Hoc Council which opens with:

“Martin Luther King Jr. profoundly stated, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”; and

Justice can be achieved with the assistance of many people bending the arc of the moral universe who have a genuine desire to live in a society that respects and seeks to include all inhabitants through understanding and education about our similarities and differences; and

Mayor Samwick and the Board of Trustees seek to combat racism and bias and their deleterious effects on society, including the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others, and local incidents of racism and bias, including disparaging comments made at a public Village Board meeting in March 2020, hate symbols that were found on School District property, a number of micro-aggressions as well as other unfortunate incidents, are among many events that provide the impetus for us all to aspire for social justice in Scarsdale, this nation and around the world.”

He named the following people to serve on the Council:

Jennifer Fischman, Chair of the Advisory Council on Human Relations, Wildwood Road
Christopher Jackson
Chandra Nottage, Lockwood Road Piero Olcese, Brown Road
Kelly Shang, Sherbrooke Road
Karen Smith, Windmill Circle
Purnima Srivastava, Myrtledale Road
Lisa Tan, Webster Road
Karen Ceske, Board of Education
Edgar McIntosh, School District
Jay Genova, Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling
Robert Cole, Deputy Village Manager, Staff Member
Ingrid M. Richards, Assistant Village Manager, Staff Member
Trustee Rochelle Waldman will serve as liaison to the committee and Mayor Samwick will serve in an ex-officio capacity.

The goals of the Council are as follows:

-Provide a safe place to convene community conversations about racism and bias;

-Identify events, episodes where racism, bias and discrimination exist and are encountered in the Scarsdale community;

-Educate the community about issues related to racism and bias, thereby ensuring that the community is cognizant of behaviors that may be racist and bias. This may be achieved through inviting leaders in the industry to convey useful information to the community and inviting local public officials to discuss policies and practices that demonstrate a diverse and inclusive environment;

-Explore and assist with the coordination of multi-cultural events to better educate and connect the residents toward creating and fostering a more empathetic community;

-Develop a report that documents the events, episodes where bias, racism and discrimination exist in the community and provide an actionable strategic plan that will ameliorate conscious and unconscious bias, racism and discrimination within the Scarsdale community.

The resolution was passed unanimously.

Car Thefts

Village Manager Pappalardo discussed an alarming increase in the number of stolen cars by a number of groups from Connecticut, New Jersey and the Bronx who are targeting unlocked, high-end vehicles. He said the thieves can tell whether or not the cars are unlocked by the position of the side view mirrors. He said that year to date there have been 71 larcenies from cars and 17 cars stolen. However 13 of these cars were recovered and DNA from the cars was submitted for analysis. Scarsdale Police have joined a task force that includes other local police departments and the FBI to track down the groups that are stealing the cars.
Pappalardo strongly recommended that everyone lock their cars and refrain from leaving key fobs inside their cars.


Pappalardo gave an update on the Village’s recreation facilities which are reopening. The pool officially opens on Saturday July 18 and everyone is encouraged to buy a pool permit. Regulations are posted on the village website. Village staff anticipates that they will be able to accommodate everyone who wants to come to the pool in a socially distanced manner. Visitors will be screened before entry and asked to wear a mask when not swimming.

Tennis is more popular than ever this year. The Village has sold a total of 1,263 tennis permits and all 26 courts are open for singles or doubles play. Courts need to be reserved in advance using the Village’s online reservation system.

All Village fields and parks are also open – but the park bathrooms are not yet available for use. The Village is offering some summer programming including a 2-day a week sports program in conjunction with Backyard Sports. Sign up on the Village website. More specialty camps will be available in August.

Comments from Village Trustees:

Trustee Seth Ross reported that the two firefighters who sustained injuries fighting a fire at a house on Church Lane last week are on the mend. One was cleared to return to work today and the other will be back to full duty next week.

Trustee Jane Veron reported on activities downtown and at the library. Here are her comments:

The Dine the ‘Dale tent in the Village Center continues to be enjoyed by residents and is actively used throughout the day. It is also available in the evening hours for patrons to enjoy family dinners. In addition to table service provided by Parkway and Yeomiji, twenty five other restaurants and food service providers will deliver to or provide take out for those who would like to dine in the tent. A listing of all participating restaurants is on signage at the tent located at Spencer Place and East Parkway.
The Village welcomed Rothman’s Faherty pop up mobile store last week in Boniface Circle.

Boniface Circle park has been spruced up. Thanks to a collaboration between the Forum’s Downtown Revitalization Committee led by Susan Douglass and Madelaine Epstein from Friends of the Scarsdale Parks, the park received its long overdue grooming, making it even more inviting for residents.

Two more bike racks have been installed in the Village Center.

As for increased parking capacity, consumers are invited to use Christie Place parking garage, access off East Parkway. Consumers can park up to 3 hours using the PANGO app 10599.

During the week of July 27 through August 2 the Village will hold the sidewalk sale and Spencer Place, Boniface Circle and Harwood Court will be shut down in the Village Center for the entire week. This year, the Sidewalk Sale will include the Golden Horseshoe.

On Friday, July 31, from 6:30-8 pm, there will be a Chalk the ‘Dale event to bring the community together to decorate the Village streets. Local restaurants will also be providing dinners and snacks, and the proceeds of the event will support the Scarsdale Business Alliance, the organization that has been working overtime on the nuts and bolts of reopening. Families can sign up at

Drive-in Movie Night: The Friends of the Scarsdale Library Drive, will hold a Drive-In Movie night on Wednesday, July 22. It is already sold out. Seventy-five carloads of Scarsdale residents will park at Crossway Field to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. To round out the event, the SBA invited local restaurants to provide boxed dinners and snacks. Within 90 minutes of opening enrollment, nearly all of the 75 car slots were taken. Given the strong demand, we’d like to try to schedule another Drive-In movie event in the near future.

Scarsdale Library: The Board is making plans for a fall soft opening, provided the Governor permits.

Contactless pick up at the Loft continues with patrons availing themselves of the full Westchester public library system offerings. Outside pick up can be made by appointment. With the increase in demand, pickup hours have been expanded to 9am-4:30 pm. Items will be checked out and left in a bag with your name on it.

The library has also expanded times for returns from Monday at 8 a.m. to Friday at 5:00 p.m. in marked bins outside the Loft. Items will be quarantined for 72 hours in the bins before they are checked in, so will remain on your card for up to one week, and fines will be forgiven during that time.

Summer Blackout Bingo is underway for children, encouraging children to read and enjoy some fun activities. Once the Bingo card is completed, child and parent can take a photo of completed board and send to<;>; for a gift card to Bronx River Books. The bingo card is available on the Library homepage.

Construction is moving well at 54 Olmsted with carpeting and painting and bathrooms being finished. Next month, furniture and shelving will start to be delivered. Veron toured the library and said, “I was blown away - the library has been transformed in ways that defy proper description. Truly a tribute to the countless volunteer hours spent on every detail.”

In other business, the Village allocated $498,621 received from Con Edison for road resurfacing to the general fund.

The Village accepted a gift of $2,825 from the Friends of Scarsdale Parks to spruce up the landscaping at Boniface Circle. According to Trustee Lena Crandall, the landscaping has made Boniface Circle more inviting and created “a place where people can safely visit with each other.”

The Trustees passed a resolution to hold the Village election on Tuesday September 15. Per the Governor’s executive order, the election, which was originally scheduled for March 18, 2020 was delayed. Voting will take place at the Scarsdale Congregational Church at 1 Heathcote Road. Qualified voters may serve as election inspectors for the election.

New Parking Lot: The trustees approved a fee of $7,900 for a site plan review for a proposed 130 space parking lot at 30 Popham Road where there is currently an outdoor lot. The application was filed by Scarsdale Improvement Corp. and calls for a three levels parking lot with a basement, first floor and second floor.

Last, the Village Trustees agreed to an inter municipal agreement with the Village of Mamaroneck to represent them in tax grievance proceedings filed by Anna Karpman of 27 Aspen Road and Jill Krutick of 32 Tisdale Road. Since the owners of these properties serve on the Board of Assessment Review or are related to someone who serves, the Village of Scarsdale is required to ask another municipality to represent their interests in the SCAR proceedings.

In public comments, Randy Whitestone said that the sidewalk in Heathcote has been patched and is in tough shape. He asked the trustees to think further about sidewalk repair. He said he was “Encouraged by the formation of the Ad Hoc Council to Combat Racism and Bias, saying “It’s an important time to listen and learn how we can be more inclusive and encourage diversity.” About the pool, he said, “Some have suggested adding early hours for those who work at home.” Last he said, “I applaud the scheduling of the budget session for August and understanding how the pandemic has affected the Village budget.”

Bob Harrison urged the Mayor to have the Ad Hoc Council meet in public session so that everyone can participate. About the makeup of the council he said, “There was no indication that people should apply for this committee.” However Harrison was pleased that the tax bill was sent with two coupons and residents can split payments.

Mayra Kirkendall Rodriguez thanked the Mayor for creating the Ad hoc Council but claimed, “For a council that is supposed to be inclusive, the way it was created was not inclusive.” She asked who designed the objectives, and asked why there was no press release inviting participation. She said, “Where can residents write if they want to be on the ad hoc committee? She asked, “Will they be taking minutes? How will we know what has transpired? Will the Village Board received anti-racism training? Why are the village boards not diverse? Will you look into how village and school staff can be more diverse?” She said, “You can make history by affecting badly needed change in Scarsdale.”

With the Fall 2020 semester just around the corner, most colleges and universities have announced their plans for the upcoming academic semester. Administrators have decided whether or not their students are allowed to return to campus, as well as what class format (in-person, online, or hybrid) will best fit their needs. When coming to a decision, every school had to consider the size of their student body, location of campus, and financial abilities of students, faculty, and the university itself. Here are four Scarsdale residents, now college sophomores, who shared their thoughts on their respective colleges’ plans for Fall 2020.

cornellSydney Albert, Cornell University (Me)

I am currently planning on returning to campus for the fall semester. The administration recognizes that students have had so much valuable time already taken away from their college experience, and does not want to further inhibit it. All students are invited to return to campus, given that most upperclassmen live off campus so it is much easier to accommodate the student body. Classes will start on September 2 and we will remain on campus until Thanksgiving, after which finals will be completed remotely. It has not yet been announced whether they will be in-person, online, or a hybrid of the two.  If classes are in person, they will definitely honor social distancing guidelines. The administration has also set up a plan to ensure students are tested frequently for COVID-19. I think Cornell has done a great job thus far in making sure that students come to school healthy and prepared for social distancing. 

I will be living in my sorority house.

The school waited a really long time before announcing plans, so the anticipation was definitely tough. I was so excited when I finally heard that we are allowed to reside on campus for the fall semester. That was the general consensus among other students too. 

I am really excited to continue my time at Cornell. College still feels pretty new to me considering I only spent 1.5 semesters on campus, so I can’t wait for campus to feel more and more like home. That being said, I am nervous that we won’t make it until Thanksgiving, and that the administration will send us home early. My classes start relatively late compared to other schools, so it will be interesting to see how life resumes at other colleges before it is even time for me to return.

georgetownMichael Anderson, Georgetown University

Can you briefly outline your school’s plans for the fall semester (dates for return, who is allowed on campus, class format, and other general protocol)?
Freshmen, transfer students, and students with poor living situations at home are the only students allowed to return to campus on August 26. The rest of the students are expected to complete their coursework from an off-campus location, preferably at home. One of my professors thinks that not even the freshmen and transfer students will end up returning to campus, given what’s been going on with Major League Baseball.

Where will you be living during the fall semester?
I am leasing an apartment with friends off-campus in Georgetown. We have been advised to avoid going on campus.

What was the reaction among students when your school announced its plans? Overall, were you pleased or disappointed?
I honestly never expected us to go back for the Fall 2020 semester so I would say I am not surprised by Georgetown’s current plan. However, just because it was expected, doesn’t mean it isn’t disappointing.

If you are returning to campus, are you excited? Is there anything you are nervous about?
I’m really excited to see my friends and get to live with them in an apartment, but I am definitely worried that the fall won’t go smoothly. Living in DC could end up either being a positive and safe experience or a negative one, and right now it’s really unclear which it will be.

villanovaMia Dell’Orto, Villanova University

Can you briefly outline your school’s plans for the fall semester (dates for return, who is allowed on campus, class format, and other general protocol)?
All students are allowed to return to campus for the Fall 2020 Semester, and I am moving in on August 14. Once I am on campus, I will take four of my classes online, and one in person. Social distancing is going to be strictly enforced all over campus and the administration has created many rules to ensure it will take place. Each student is assigned to eat at only one dining hall, wear a mask at all times, and stay six feet apart from all other students, except roommates.

Where will you be living during the fall semester?
I will be living in a dorm with one roommate.

What was the reaction among students when your school announced its plans? Overall, were you pleased or disappointed?
We are all just so grateful that we are allowed to go back to school. Although it’s disappointing that the social life at Villanova will change, I’m still excited to be back with my friends.

If you are returning to campus, are you excited? Is there anything you are nervous about?
I’m excited to see my friends, but not excited for how different from last year campus life will be. I’m nervous about the food and how dining halls will work. The thought of getting sent home early is also something that stresses me out.

dartmouthBen Lehrburger, Dartmouth College

Can you briefly outline your school’s plans for the fall semester (dates for return, who is allowed on campus, class format, and other general protocol)?
My school is adopting a “2/4” plan: two out of four classes are allowed on campus during a given term. Our dates remain the same as the regular school year, but classes will be entirely online and group gatherings will be virtually nonexistent.

Where will you be living during the fall semester?
During the fall I’ll be living about 20 minutes off-campus. There’s a cohort of rising sophomores doing the same.

What was the reaction among students when your school announced its plans? Overall, were you pleased or disappointed?
When school was initially canceled, everyone was devastated but understood that we were sacrificing ten weeks of school to potentially save lives. But when plans for the 2021 academic year turned bleak, people took it personally. It felt like the administration was stripping each student of their chance to get the college experience they worked so hard to attain. And students knew the administration wasn't using their resources resourcefully. Our endowment is massive and our school is adjacent to the largest hospital in the state, but they still cut five varsity teams and ruled out a hybrid learning program.

If you are returning to campus, are you excited? Is there anything you are nervous about?
I’m excited to see my friends and be around people my own age again (my family is great but they just won’t cut it). I think that even with everything that’s going on, we’ll find a way to create a niche college experience. That said, I’m worried for the College’s surrounding community, which has a high population of elderly residents. If an outbreak is unleashed, they would be severely jeopardized. I guess it comes down to what the community values more: elderly lives or youth education and economic sustenance.

GA3With Greenacres' annual July 4th Field Day Celebration cancelled as a result of Covid 19, the neighborhood association focused it's attention to a replacement event - "The First (and hopefully last ) Great Greenacres 4th of July Car Parade Celebration." Over 30 cars, SUVs, trucks and even motor scooters joined the parade. Dressed up with red, white, blue and (even green!) streamers, balloons and messages, the car parade kicked off at 10:30am and wound its way through the Greenacres neighborhood with horns blaring to the joy of dozens of families on the route waving flags and cheering from their lawns and porches.

It was a terrific community event enjoyed by all.

Text: Greenacres Neighborhood Association President Andrew Sereysky, Photos: Renu Lalwani

ga1GA2GA4Andrew Sereysky and Michelle Lichtenberg

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