Dear Cheder Parents and Staff,

Boruch Hashem, as the situation currently stands, we are looking forward to a full reopening of Cheder doors this September. We are preparing to reopen with the utmost care and consideration for our children, families, and staff’s health and safety. Please remember, it is impossible to guarantee that there won't be any cases in our school throughout the year, but the key to our success in remaining open and reducing the possibility of community spread, will be our strict adherence to the guidelines outlined below.

The measures elucidated in our Return to School Plan are, in compliance with CDC recommendations as well as all state and local laws, and with the guidance of a true professional in the field, Dr. Avi Z. Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University - School of Medicine. Please be aware, however, that with the ever-changing status of the pandemic we are currently living through, all policies, procedures and schedules can change at any time. We will do our best to continue to communicate with you regularly and appreciate your patience while we navigate reopening our school.

As there are many considerations to safely opening schools, we recognize this is a rather lengthy document. We hope you will read it through so we can have a smooth transition back into a brick-and-mortar school, and most importantly, so we can keep our students, faculty and families safe. We request that if you still have concerns about sending your children to school after you have read our return-to-school policies and procedures, please reach out to us as soon as possible.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of the administration.

Sincerely,

Rabbi Yitzchok Wolf
Dean

 

What You Need to Do In Preparation

  • A mandatory survey will go out 7 days prior to the start of school to all students and staff about potential exposure to COVID. Based on the results, families or individuals may be required to provide the school with a negative COVID result. Your honesty in that survey will not only protect your family, but the Cheder family at large.
  • In the event that our consulting medical professionals deem a negative COVID result necessary, the test must place no earlier than August 27.
  • Do not bring your child if anyone in your household exhibits any symptoms of COVID-19! These include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. Even if, and especially if, you bring your child’s fever down with medication, do not bring him/her to school.
  • Every morning, at least 30 minutes prior to school beginning, parents must verify via electronic survey, that the child’s household has none of the aforementioned symptoms, nor have they come in contact with anyone diagnosed with or suspected of COVID-19. Students whose parents have not verified their health status will not be permitted entry into the building until they do so.
  • Every person, ages Nursery and up, must wear face coverings at all times while in the building. We strongly suggest students come with a comfortable, child-sized mask made of breathable material, and an extra mask in their backpack in the event the first one rips. Disposable masks are not a good option for students.
  • Sharing of food or supplies will be strictly prohibited. Please ensure your child’s supply box and lunch bag are fully stocked each day.
  • Laramie and Jarvis will remain for student drop-off only. No standing, parking or double-parking! Likewise, do not park in the Fire Lane! All other arrival procedures will also remain in place. Please read the more thorough version of arrival procedures here. 
  • Individuals/Families awaiting entry should maintain a 6ft distance from other people. Please follow the markers (or concrete cracks).
  • Students will not be admitted into the building more than 10 minutes prior to the start of the school day.

What We Are Doing in Preparation

  • Classes 1st grade & up will be on Zoom for students who are ill or unable to attend class due to COVID-19 exposure (e.g. Illness, quarantine, family exposure, etc).
  • Every individual who enters the school building must pass a thermal screening with a temperature less than 100.0F.
  • The school building will be disinfected daily, with high-traffic surfaces disinfected every 2 hours.
  • Specialized air filters (Merv 13) will be used throughout the building.
  • Water fountains will be disabled. Children will be able to fill their water bottles in Cheder.
  • Students will proceed directly to their classrooms upon arrival. Congregating in hallways will not be permitted. There will be no “Line-Up”.
  • Students will wash their hands with soap and water upon arrival to school and at other scheduled times throughout the day (e.g. after lunch and recesses).
  • Desks will be distanced to the greatest degree possible.
  • All teachers' desks have been outfitted with a 4-foot high plastic shield. (Teachers may remove their face-coverings while behind the desk shield to allow students to benefit from seeing their facial language and expression.)
  • Students and staff will be encouraged to walk on the right side of the hallway at all times.
  • Signs will be posted in highly visible locations throughout the school that reinforce safety precautions and promote everyday protective measures.
  • At this time, we do not have the capacity to spread lockers and cubbies 6 feet apart. When we send students to their lockers/cubbies, however, we will do so in a manner that they will not have to go at the same time as someone adjacent to them.
  • Students will be grouped into “pods”. Each pod will remain separate from other pods throughout the school day.
  • Only non-contact games (e.g baseball, kickball, etc) will be allowed at elementary recess. (This is to the exclusion of games that promote or require direct-physical contact, such as basketball, football, tag, etc.)
  • Students will not be required to wear masks outdoors, so long as they maintain a 6ft distance from one another. Recess will be outdoors as much as possible. In the event of inclement weather, schedules will ensure that pods remain isolated.
  • An electronic catalogue is being created from which students may choose library books. The librarian will bring requested books each week to the classrooms and accept returns at that time as well. Students will not visit the library.

Changes That Will Impact Parents

  • No parents or outside visitors will be allowed entry to the building.
  • No busing will be provided as of now.
  • Students may not be picked up within the 20 minutes prior to dismissal.
  • There will be no Preschool aftercare program as of now.
  • For dismissal, students will wait in their classroom desks until their last name is called over the loudspeaker to be dismissed. Please be patient.
  • Minyan will be for 7th/8th only.
  • There will be no mishmar until Rosh Hashanah. 
  • See “Slow Roll-Out Start to School” section below.

What Happens if Someone Gets Sick

  • Any person who displays any of the aforementioned symptoms throughout the day will be isolated and must be picked up immediately.
  • A person who displayed symptoms may return to school upon being symptom-free (no fever without fever-reducing medications) for 24 hours, with either a negative test for COVID-19, or a signed “No Clinical Suspicion of COVID-19 Form” from his/her PCP. (Link to form here).
  • Any person who comes in direct contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 must remain symptom free for 14 days before returning to school. This includes - but is not limited to - family and carpool members.
  • Likewise, if a student or teacher is diagnosed with COVID-19, the entire pod must quarantine for 14 days before returning to school. In the event this occurs, class will be held remotely for Pre 1a & older, following the most recent remote-learning schedule. For Tiny Tots, Tots, Nursery and Kindergartens there will be no online classes.
  • If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, that person may not return to school until at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms with a signed “No Clinical Suspicion of COVID-19 Form” from his/her PCP.
  • In the event an elementary student or class must quarantine, students will be held responsible for all material and assignments, in line with regular absence policies. The school will be issuing standard letter grades, not “Passes” as we had for the last trimester.
  • In the event that a Rebbe/teacher is ill or otherwise absent as usual, the school will provide a substitute teacher.
  • For elementary classes, if a teacher is quarantined but not ill, s/he will conduct class remotely, and classroom supervision will be provided.

Specifically for Preschool:  

  • Arriving preschool children will have their thermal screening outside by the gate to the playground. Parents will then drop off their children at the preschool entrance where a Morah will meet the children to bring them to their classroom.
  • Preschool dismissal will be from 12:45-1:05. Parents will park in the lot and walk to the back door, waiting 6ft apart from one another. Your children will be brought to you for pickup.
    • We are not permitted to merge any pods. Therefore, having a few children from each group merge while they wait for a late pickup is not allowed. Please carefully plan your pickup schedules this year as a $1/min fee will be applied for anyone arriving after 1:05.
  • We will follow strict sanitizing procedures throughout the day and at the end of each day, and take extra precaution with any materials that may have come into contact with children’s saliva, mucus or any other bodily fluid. Such toys will be set aside in a separate bin that is inaccessible to the children. They will only be returned to the shelves once they have been cleaned and sanitized.
  • Items that cannot be cleaned and disinfected properly will not be used (soft and porous toys).
  • We will limit the amount of toys and supplies used in the classroom to allow for better cleaning and for more frequent switch outs.
  • When sleeping, cribs or mats will be spaced as far apart as possible.

Slow Roll-out Start to School

Slow Start Schedule 

Tuesday, September 1:

  • Meet & Greet for preschool, 10 am-12 noon.
  • Orientation for Girls Pre1a and 1st grade at Jarvis, by appointment.
  • School begins for all boys, grades 1-8. 12:00pm dismissal.

Wednesday, September 2:

  • School begins for girls and preschool, last names A-M only!
  • School resumes for all elementary boys.
  • 11:45 Jarvis Dismissal, 12:00 Howard Dismissal.

Thursday, September 3:

  • School begins for girls and preschool, last names N-Z only!
  • School resumes for all elementary boys.
  • 11:45 Jarvis Dismissal. 12:00 Howard Dismissal.

Friday, September 4

  • School resumes for all students.
  • 11:45 Jarvis Dismissal. 12:00 Howard Dismissal.

Monday, September 7

  • Regularly scheduled school resumes, including General Studies and regular dismissals.

Mon-Tue, Sept 7-8

  • Intake conferences will be held virtually, by Zoom appointment. Sign-up and details to follow.