Return to Campus Update

August 3, 2020

Dear Berman Community, 

Over the past two months, our administrative team has been planning our safe return to campus for all of our students and faculty. On July 24, we presented our Shuva B’Shalva Blueprint, a comprehensive plan on our safe return to campus that was guided by our work with our medical task force and compliant with CDC guidelines.  

As you have read and seen, we have our plans in place. Our facility is ready and our technology is being installed and upgraded. We are eager to host our students back in our classrooms and maintain the commitment to do so as soon as we can. 

This past Friday evening, however, Montgomery County put out a directive that all nonpublic schools remain closed for in-person instruction through at least October 1, 2020.

While we feel our plans for a return to campus were created in a thoughtful and responsible manner, we are obligated to follow Montgomery County’s directive. Based on this order, we will begin our school year virtually for 1st through 12th grades. Our Preschool operates under a separate child care license, and at this time we do plan to host our Preschool students in-person. In addition, we are working on the potential opportunity to bring our Kindergarten students back on campus as well, and we will update parents in the coming days. We will be working with the county to determine our full student-body return to campus. 

We understand the disappointment this change presents to many of our families, staff members, and faculty, but at this time, our utmost concern is for the health and safety of our Berman community, while also maintaining the highest degree of community responsibility.

We remain committed to supporting our families who have been financially impacted at this time, and we continue to offer an emergency appeals process for families who may need tuition assistance. If you are in need of assistance, please email Linda Kaiser at kaiserl@mjbha.org. As with our Spring 2020 semester, while operating virtually there are services we simply cannot offer. Therefore, we will adjust any ancillary fees accordingly during the duration of our virtual learning. Please note, our budgeting process for this year is ongoing and we will analyze the budgetary impact of a virtual platform, including assessing the feasibility of a tuition adjustment, if we cannot shortly return to campus.

Our administrators and staff are now turning their complete attention to our enhanced virtual learning program and an emotionally healthy return for all of our students in the Fall. We will share more details about the beginning of the school year and our virtual program at the divisional town halls (see details below) over the next two weeks. Please use this form to submit your questions.

We appreciate the trust and partnership our families have shown during this difficult time. While this is certainly not the outcome we were hoping for, we are confident our Berman community will continue to remain strong, as well as grow together, during this challenging time. We understand that there are many of us that want to support our beloved school through action and advocacy. Please know that we are working closely with the Jewish Community Relations Council, as well as the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington, to engage with the County in an effort to gain approval to re-open for in-person learning in a safe manner, consistent with the best medical guidance. 

We know that many of you are anxious, upset, and frustrated by this latest turn of events. We ask that, should you decide to reach out to your elected representatives or others, you do so with three fundamental points in mind:

  1. A recognition that our County officials are motivated to protect the public health and that, while we may not always agree with their decisions, we do not impugn their motives or expertise;
  2. An awareness of the importance of respect and civility (derech eretz) in our public discourse; and
  3. An understanding that we and the County government have a long relationship together, that we cooperate daily on multiple fronts, and that one disagreement – no matter how incredibly important – should not irreparably damage that relationship moving forward.

Thank you for your cooperation and partnership. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. 


Rabbi Dr. Yossi Kastan
Head of School

Benny Berkowitz