Acting principal named at Warwick school dealing with post-homecoming COVID outbreak

West Bay

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A Warwick high school that switched to remote learning following a COVID-19 outbreak linked to a recent homecoming dance now has a new acting principal.

In an email to parents Monday, Pamela Bernardi was announced as the acting principal of Pilgrim High School. The note, sent by Assistant Superintendent William McCaffrey, said Bernardi will stay in the role “until further notice.”

The email did not say why the decision was made to replace Principal Gerald Habershaw. 12 News reached out to Habershaw Monday afternoon, but he has not yet responded to the inquiry.

Superintendent Lynn Dambruch did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The email comes as students at Pilgrim continue to learn remotely following an outbreak of COVID cases at the school linked with a Nov. 6 homecoming dance.

The dance itself was held outside under a tent, but video captured by the Warwick Beacon showed the sides of the tent were lowered, and students were congregating inside the high school building. Many students were also seen in the video not wearing masks in the building; some were serving themselves from a buffet.

Current Rhode Island law requires mask-wearing while in K-12 public school buildings unless eating or drinking.

The same Warwick Beacon video shows Habershaw inside the building without a mask, walking through a crowd of students and striking a pose.

Some students told the Beacon they were required to produce a negative COVID test to attend the dance.

The Rhode Island Department of Health told 12 News Monday that the most recent data found 30 cases were linked with the Pilgrim outbreak. New data is set to be published Tuesday.

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