The summer of 2020 continues to offer us experiences that are far from typical. With the cancellation of many camps and summer programs, we are all working to find routines for our children. Naturally, we are all looking forward and committed to a fall return to school and hoping for a sense of normalcy and consistency.
At Berman, we are continuing to work hard towards Shuva B’Shalva – a safe and peaceful return to our beloved campus. To that end, this email includes an update on our plans for a safe return to school this fall, including action steps for parents (see sections below on Technology and Transportation).
Our administration and faculty are planning for different scenarios, different schedules and different modalities – all with the goal of continuing to provide the education you’ve come to expect of Berman Hebrew Academy. We recently shared with you that our preschool and lower school will be learning in small pods of 15 people per room. Our spaces are being prepared to allow for this model and we continue to plan out the details of the schedule and protocols. We will share more details with you in the next couple of weeks.
Although small cohorts work more naturally in a preschool and lower school setting, this model becomes more challenging in the middle and upper school as our students rotate between different classes, disciplines, levels, tracks, academic support and electives. We have been working through several scenarios to meet our students’ unique needs and deliver an in-person education, safely. We are still weighing many factors and are close to making final decisions. We look forward to sharing our educational models and plans for the middle and upper school during the week of July 20th.
As we continue to plan out our educational model, it is clear that we will need to limit the use of shared equipment to maximize health and safety. As such, we ask that parents secure the following technology for their children in time for our return to school in the fall.
4th and 5th Grade: Students in the Lower School use chromebooks to access Google docs as well as a number of other educational software platforms. If you do not yet have one, please purchase a Chromebook for your child in 4th/5th grade.
Middle School: Students in the Middle School use chromebooks for several academic subjects and to access educational software platforms. If your student does not yet have one, please purchase a Chromebook for your child.
Upper School: Our Upper School has been, and continues to be, a 1:1 program. This means that we recommend that each student bring a device to school to fully participate in our program. Upper School students access more sophisticated software platforms. As such, we recommend that each student have a regular laptop as opposed to a Chromebook.
We want every student to be able to fully participate in the learning. We also understand that this may cause financial hardship for some families. If you require financial assistance to secure a device for your student, please email Rabbi Dr. Yossi Kastan at email@example.com.
Our maintenance and facilities crews are hard at work preparing our classrooms and common spaces. We are reorganizing spaces and furnishing classrooms with desks and tables that will allow us to meet social distancing guidelines. We have ordered more sanitizing equipment to allow for efficient sanitization of our classrooms, playgrounds and common spaces.
In consultation with professionals and consultants, in maintaining our commitment to keep our students and faculty healthy and safe, we have also ordered new filters for our entire HVAC system that are the industry recommended for higher efficiency in air filtration throughout our building.
We are committed to maintaining bus service for Berman families. To maximize the health and safety of our riders and drivers, we will be staggering seating to maximize distance between riders. Since seating will be limited in this model, we will require that siblings sit together so that we can offer spots for the maximum amount of families. Moreover, we will require bus riders to wear a mask, and we will keep windows open for air circulation when weather permits.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If your child was previously registered for aftercare, please note that we will not be able to offer aftercare this year. This means that your child will be moved to the 3:30 p.m. bus. If you have any questions, please email our Executive Director, Shmarya Gasner, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Given the limited spaces and the health and safety guidelines, we need ample time to prepare our buses and our routes. If you have not yet registered for bus transportation for your children for the fall, we ask that you register by Friday, July 17th. If you are interested in bus transportation, or for any questions or concerns, please email Shmarya Gasner at email@example.com.
Thank you for your patience, support and partnership throughout this entire process. I am humbled and honored to work with a staff, and in a community, that is so dedicated to the education, mental health and socialization of our children. As we continue to finalize our plans for a return to campus in the fall, we will continue to communicate with you with the full plans and details.
In the meantime, I wish you and yours a Shabbat shalom.
Rabbi Dr. Yossi Kastan
Head of School