Dear Hebrew Academy Families,
Every generation has a unique question of “Where were you…?” Where were you on September 11th, 2001?, Where were you when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon?, Where were you when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated?, Where you were when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor? At this precise moment in time, we are all answering the question: Where were you during COVID-19? For our Hebrew Academy family, this question runs de…
Every generation has a unique question of “Where were you…?” Where were you on September 11th, 2001?, Where were you when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon?, Where were you when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated?, Where you were when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor? At this precise moment in time, we are all answering the question: Where were you during COVID-19? For our Hebrew Academy family, this question runs deeper with: What did you do for schooling during COVID-19?
As the COVID-19 pandemic began to shape the year 2020, Hebrew Academy looked to its values and mission to guide our actions. Almost overnight, our brave teachers changed their teaching styles, packed up their supplies, and transformed their entire persona from a physical classroom to a Zoom Room. As the Zoom routine became the norm, our staff’s never-ending commitment to our mission of “inspire each and every child to improve the world” continued. From personal phone calls, drive-through meals and events, Zoom parties, and more, Hebrew Academy was truly “in this together.” Soon enough, summer took hold and as the Zoom tones began to disappear from our homes, our staff reimagined our campus, classrooms, and upgraded safety measures to prepare for the coming year. As our Financial Aid requests were on the rise, we continued to invest in our families, our campus, and our community. To put it simply, Hebrew Academy invested as much as it could into the safety and education of our students and staff.
So, where were you during COVID-19? I know my answer. I can answer it proudly, that I was with a community that despite being presented with myriad challenges, including financial and health, our community stood together, and continued to support and invest in the Jewish education of our children. I recognize that for many families, making this choice was difficult due to those very same challenges of financial and health considerations and I thank you for choosing to select Hebrew Academy, especially this year. Your commitment speaks volumes and we will work as a community to be worthy of your bold choice. Choosing a Hebrew Academy education is an investment that lasts a lifetime.
This coming year will certainly be different and there will definitely be challenges down the road. However, it is my hope and prayer that we are given the courage and ability to forge ahead, supporting each other and our wonderful school.
May Hashem grant a speedy end to this difficult situation and bless us all with good health, prosperity, and spiritual connection.
Students will be placed into cohorts, and cohorts will be assigned to specific zones to reduce exposure. When possible, only one cohort will be allowed to transition to activities at a time. Lockers have been removed from corridors to provide greater space for transitions. Desks will be socially distanced. Student schedules will be in blocks to reduce the numbers of times groups need to transition and teachers will rotate locations more often than students. We will have summer orientations about COVID-19 safety measures and hygiene for staff, students, and parents.
A virtual education experience will be offered for those in Grades 2-12 who are unable to attend school for health or other reasons. Hebrew Academy will equip classrooms with the highest technology possible and with the level of education they are accustomed to.
Before entering campus every student and staff member will be screened for any signs and symptoms of any communicable disease and their temperature will be taken. We recommend that families quarantine after vacation and airplane transportation.
Parents and guests will not be permitted on campus for the time being. Therapists and tutors will also not be permitted on campus. Please schedule those appointments after-school hours and off-campus. We appreciate your consideration.
If a student tests positive, the entire class/cohort should quarantine for 14 calendar days. Additionally, students and staff showing signs and symptoms of COVID-19 will be required to have a COVID test. Families impacted by required quarantine will be alerted and every possible measure will be taken to respect the privacy of those who are, or may be ill.
Our Maintenance Team will clean and sanitize door handles, railings, light switches, community tables, and other high-touch areas continually during and after the school day. Drinking fountains will be eliminated. There will be staggered bathroom use and signage will be posted on the proper use of hand washing. Hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and soap and water will be available to staff and students. There will be staff and student training on hand washing, sanitation, and the proper use of wearing and removing masks.
Hebrew Academy is a part of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSA). At this time, the FHSA plans to begin the 2020-2021 athletic season as usual. We will monitor our community and our student cohorts and zones to determine if following suit is the right decision for our school.
No decision has been made at this time as to the start of the After School Activities Program. We will monitor our student cohorts and zones to determine the safest time and manner to begin our after school programming.
Students may purchase a kosher hot lunch from our cafeteria, or bring a dairy or pareve brown bag lunch from home. Hot Lunch will be in the form of a packaged box lunch prepared on-site by J-Cafe, our school caterers, and will be delivered to classrooms or other designated student cohort lunch areas. There will be no late brown bag drop-off, and students will not be permitted to order food from outside restaurants. Lunch service may be in classrooms, in alternative areas on campus, and we will utilize outdoor spaces when possible.
Food Insecurity - we recognize that some families may have difficulty providing meals for their children. We want to help. Please contact our Operations Director for more information at email@example.com.
Hebrew Academy has long embraced the importance of instruction of the arts, humanities, STEAM, and sports. Students will have daily recess and regular PE classes outdoors. Enrichment lessons will take place in the classrooms.
The social and emotional development of our students is definitely on our minds. Students may indeed experience separation anxiety, be fearful of germs, and may experience fatigue when returning to a full day of school. We are blessed with a wonderful team of school psychologists who will work with students and staff to address these valid concerns.
In general, and usually related to inclement weather, we close when Miami Dade Public Schools close and re-open on our own timeline. That said, this is a unique circumstance. We will make decisions to close campus based on the advice of our Medical Advisory Committee, The CDC, WHO, State of Florida, and determine what is best for our school community.