In July 2020, our administrative team shared our Shuva B’Shalva Blueprint with the community. The Blueprint outlines the risk mitigation factors our community is taking including daily symptoms checks, face coverings, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and sanitization. In addition, our Decision Tree outlines the steps we will take should suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 arise in our community.
Families are also expected to follow risk mitigations outside of school, including mask wearing, physical distancing, limiting travel, no indoor meals, and quarantining as necessary. If we hear of or observe families that are not in line with these guidelines, we reserve the right to ask the students from those families to learn virtually for a period of time.
Please review our in-school policies below and our frequently asked questions.
Every student and faculty member must have a completed AlertMedia symptoms check before entering the building. If you or anyone in your household tests positive for Covid or has Covid-like symptoms, have been in contact (less than 6 feet distance for more than 15 minutes) with someone who tests positive for Covid or has Covid-like symptoms, or have recently traveled outside of Maryland/DC/Virginia, please answer the symptoms check accordingly and do not come to campus. Nurse Miriam Kotek will be in touch.
Students who are signed up to take the bus will be checked in by the bus aide when the bus arrives at the stop. Parents must complete the AlertMedia symptoms check before the bus arrives. Parents must wait at the bus stop until their child has boarded the bus. Students are expected to wear masks while on the bus, keep the windows open (weather permitting), and only sit in seats that have been designated by the bus driver for students. Students may not eat or drink on the bus.
When possible, we ask that students carpool with other students that are in their pod. We understand that this may not always be possible. When traveling with students in other pods, all passengers should wear a mask, and weather permitting, keep the windows down. Siblings can travel together even if they are in different pods/grades.
If a member of the carpool has Covid, or Covid-like symptoms, the entire carpool will need to quarantine while we await test results.
Students will be expected to bring all classroom materials and supplies each day (textbooks, writing implements, laptops, etc.). Teachers will be permitted to hand out new materials and handouts, however, students will not be permitted to share materials or supplies.
We understand that there are colleges and universities that are shutting down or going virtual following Thanksgiving, and that this means that university students may be returning home. For purposes of this travel policy, college students and adult children that are returning home are considered “guests” and should follow the travel guidelines above.
As per our State and County health and safety guidelines, all students and all staff members must wear a mask at all times indoors, unless they are in a room alone. Masks must be worn outdoors if it is not possible to be at least 6 feet away from others. If one is outdoors and at least 6 feet away from others, one may remove his/her mask. Gaiters and masks with external valves are not permitted to be used in place of a mask.
Cloth face coverings should cover the mouth, nose, and chin and should be washed after each use. Disposable masks are designed for one-time use and should be discarded after wear.
Students and faculty will be asked not to kiss the mezuzot this year.
As per State and County guidelines, one may break the 6 foot distance requirement for brief (10 minutes of less) periods of time. All hallways have been marked with direction stickers to ease the traffic flow. During passing periods, students may go to their lockers to switch out their materials, and then should go to their next classrooms. Students should refrain from congregating or hanging out in the hallways in order to minimize potential exposure. Hallways will be staffed during passing time in order to ensure that the flow of traffic continues and to remind students to quickly go to class.
Our Preschool students are using lockers in the Preschool hallway.
Lower School students will keep their belongings with them in their assigned classrooms. They will not use lockers.
We are allowing locker use for students to be able to store their belongings and books, and so that they don’t have to carry around all of their supplies all day long. When/where possible, we will stagger the locker assignments to limit the amount of students gathering in one area. We will also encourage students to not congregate, but rather to get their things quickly, and to continue on to their next class or destination.
Additionally, hallways will be monitored by faculty during breaks and passing periods in order to remind students to avoid congregating by lockers.
As per our State and County guidelines, it is ideal for students and staff to maintain a 6 foot distance from one another. The guidelines are most concerned with “prolonged exposure” (over 15 minutes) within a 6 foot distance. Therefore, one may break the 6 foot distance when/if necessary, for a brief (10 minutes or less) period of time (example: a teacher approaches a student’s desk to offer feedback). Masks must be worn at all times, especially if people are within a 6 foot distance of each other.
New signage and hallway markers have been added to indicate the flow of traffic and encourage physical distancing.
Each classroom has been set up in a way to ensure that people can sit comfortably with 6 feet of separation. Additionally, markings have been placed on the ceiling tiles so that it will be obvious where desks should be placed. Desks and/or chairs should not be moved unless instructed to do so by a teacher.
We understand the importance of socialization and playdates for our students. Please adhere to these guidelines:
Preschool students are assigned to pods by classroom for all activities.
Lower School Students are assigned to pods by classroom for all activities.
Middle school students are podded by grade level throughout their school day. Each grade level will be assigned specific classrooms to be used only by students and faculty of that grade level. Students will remain with other students in their grade level for academic classes, breaks, lunch, and student activities and programming.
The Upper School will be podding each grade level. Each grade level will be assigned specific classrooms to be used only by students and faculty of that grade level. Students will remain with other students in their grade level for academic classes, breaks, lunch, and student activities and programming. For classes that have mixed grades (Judaic studies), students will alternate between in-person classes and zoom. Since electives are mixed grade levels, they will be hosted fully over zoom with designated spaces for students to use to join into the sessions.
Non-Household Member Exposure
If a student or faculty member is exposed to a non-household member who tests positive for COVID-19, the student or faculty member will need to complete a 10-day quarantine, beginning the day after their last exposure, before returning to campus.
In the event of a positive case on campus, we will notify the impacted pod or grade with quarantine directions, as well as virtual learning instructions. In unique cases, we will close pods or grades with suspected cases as well.
Household Member Exposure
If a student or faculty member is exposed to a household member* who tests positive for COVID-19, the student or faculty member will need to complete a 10-day quarantine, beginning the day after their last exposure. In addition, the student or faculty member must take a PCR test no earlier than day 7 of their quarantine and document the negative result with Miriam Kotek before returning to campus.
*A household member is anyone who spends a significant amount of time in your house. This includes nannies or other caregivers.
“Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.”
When we ask for students to quarantine, we understand that it is difficult to keep children away from other household members. Quarantine means not leaving the house-unless it’s for the purpose of accessing healthcare. If parents need to quarantine, they may not drive carpool or have close contact with others outside their household. We ask that those students instructed to quarantine remain home and not have playdates with others. As best as you can, try to keep them away from their siblings who are not in quarantine-but they do not need to be locked in a separate room. Often the quarantine will just be for a few days while we await test results for other students or staff in the affected pod. However, there may be times when the quarantine will be for a full 10 days if there is a confirmed positive case in the pod. One cannot get a negative test to “test themselves out of quarantine” and lift restrictions/return to school at an earlier than specified date. While in quarantine, please monitor your child for symptoms, consult with your doctor if any symptoms should develop and notify Nurse Kotek if your pediatrician is concerned for a possible covid-like illness and/or is recommending covid testing.
“Isolation is used to separate people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from people who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. In the home, anyone sick or infected should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if available).”
Obviously, for small children-this might not be possible as they need to be cared for by an adult. Isolation is typically a 10 day period of time from the onset of symptoms, during which time the child is considered contagious. The caregiver should wear a mask (as well as the child when awake-if possible), attempt to keep a 6 foot distance as much as possible, frequently clean commonly touched surfaces and wash hands and limit contact as much as possible. The caregiver and other household members will need to quarantine for an additional 10 days after their last contact with the child in isolation (the caregiver’s quarantine will be a total of 24 days-the 10 days that they are in contact with their child in isolation plus 10 full days after that exposure). If the caregiver or any other household member starts to show signs or have symptoms of covid-like illness, then they should contact their health care provider for further instructions regarding testing and isolation. While in isolation, please keep Nurse Kotek informed of your situation and update as necessary so we can help guide you as to when your family is cleared to return to school.
Restrooms will be cleaned twice daily by our maintenance staff. Students are not permitted to congregate in the restroom. If all stalls are occupied, students should wait outside the restroom.
In addition to our regular cleaning and sanitization schedules, our facilities team will adapt the following procedures:
In addition to our regular cleaning, we will be utilizing the Clorox 360 spraying system during non-school hours for each classroom and common space.
Each room will be equipped with disinfecting wipes for students to use in between classes. Students will wipe down their tables/desks and chairs in order to prepare the space for the next student. Teachers will ensure that the spaces have been wiped down.
All parents must complete the daily symptoms check. If a student, faculty member, or anyone in their household has Covid-like symptoms, has been exposed to someone with Covid, or is awaiting test results, they will not be allowed on campus.
At least 2 of the following:
Anyone with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher will not be allowed on campus.
If a student experiences covid-like symptoms during the school day, they should immediately report to Nurse Miriam Kotek in the Covid Nursing Suite who will assess the student and determine the appropriate next steps.
If a student gets hurt during the school day or experiences symptoms that are not associated with Covid, they should go to Nurse Shira Herzfeld in the general nursing suite for assistance.
While we understand and highly value the importance of celebrating our childrens’ milestones/smachot, we strongly discourage hosting or attending indoor events at this time. If a faculty member or a student attends an indoor simcha where food is being served, we will require the faculty member or student to quarantine for 10 days following the simcha and not return to campus until the quarantine period is over. If a faculty member or a student attends an indoor simcha where food is not served, we still reserve the right to ask the faculty member or student to quarantine.
Tefillah will be held in the classrooms.
Students have been assigned to davening groups according to their grade levels. When returning to campus, the larger davening groups will be divided into smaller sections and assigned classrooms where they can be 6ft apart.
Mincha will be davened in the last 10 minutes of the day in their classrooms.
Upper School will be having Shacharit and Mincha in grade level pods. 11th and 12th grades will use the Upper School Beit Midrash and 9th and 10th grades will use the Media Center. Each of these spaces will be set up with 6 feet of distance between each participant and will be staffed by Upper School Faculty. We will be following guidelines set forth by the medical task force as well as the school’s poskim around singing, Torah reading, and other tefillah related questions. Students who are not in the building may choose to zoom into the grade level tefillot OR opt into one of the other options. For questions about tefillah, please contact Rabbi Moshe Grosberg.
Given that numbers continue to rise across the country, and almost all states are red, we are still strongly discouraging travel at this time. However, we also know that high-risk and low-risk behaviors can take place no matter the zip code. With this in mind, and in consultation with our Medical Task Force, we are amending our policies to focus on activities, rather than location.
It is our expectation that all Berman community members adhere to the below actions, no matter their location.
*Nannies and other caregivers who spend a significant amount of time in your home are considered household members. Household members do not include family members who live outside your household.