B'nai Shalom: Re-Entry Planning & Task Force
Welcome to B'nai Shalom's planning pages for a healthy fall. In the spirit of transparency, we are sharing our evolving plans for the 2020-2021 school year. Please understand that in this fluid situation, information can change rapidly.
Please refer to the BSDS Reopening Plan for the most up-to-date information.
The Re-entry Task & Planning for Safety (and Excellence)
B'nai Shalom has created a Re-Entry Task Force to formulate scenario planning and protocols for once we open our doors. The task force is focused on the following areas:
- Health and Safety
- Facilities and Operations
- Financial Contingencies
The task force meetings regularly to establish the following:
- Adjust academic schedules for maximum flexibility between normal, hybrid, virtual learning modes
- Adjust physical environment for distancing and heightened public-health protocols
- Review programs, policies, and procedures for safe operations
- Identify tools and resources to make work easier and effective in this environment
The task force relies on guidelines from governmental and health bodies as well as business and medical experts within our community.
Throughout the pandemic, B'nai Shalom has followed the guidance of the state and public health authorities. Despite the current unknowns about the next school year, it is necessary to begin scenario planning for 2020-2021.
As they are released, future guidance from relevant authorities will be used to help make ongoing operational decisions.
We desire to get students back on campus as quickly as it is safe to do so. At this time, we are anticipating an August start to school in person.
As always, our school mission and current strategic vision remain front and center, a driving force in shaping B'nai Shalom’s response to the pandemic. While this period is undoubtedly challenging, it also presents unique opportunities to respond with different learning modalities and approaches that support and advance our larger vision.
Our mission is to provide a caring, supportive school community in which students achieve academic excellence in a dual curriculum that inspires each student to develop his/her fullest potential as an inquisitive learner, critical thinker, and future Jewish leader.
In planning for the next school year, we are operating under the following assumptions:
- we are going through a monumentally stressful and disruptive time in history, and we should not expect to flip a switch back to “normal;”
- there will be heightened attention to matters of wellness and public health which will impact our students, their families and the format which learning needs to occur;
- various formal and informal forms of social distancing will continue; and
- coronavirus waves are predicted to cause future short-term, place-specific stay-at-home orders for the foreseeable future.
When we operationalize re-opening in August, we will organize around the following framework to keep our community healthy.
- Education about the virus and how to stay healthy
- Program adjustments to maximize individual and community wellness
- Physical and social adjustments to minimize risk of exposure
- Monitoring regional and local outbreaks to understand community risk
- Ensuring individuals coming to the school are of low risk of spreading illness
- Tracking individual cases and trending illnesses within our community
- Communicating with local health authorities and internal community
- Adjusting operational modes
- Implementing cleaning and disinfecting protocols
Using guidance from trusted health authorities, the Task Force will determine the best policy and operational approaches to keep our community healthy during the COVID-19 outbreak. Areas to explore include:
Health & Safety
- Providing educational frameworks and approaches to keep the community informed regarding health and wellness best-practices
- Providing guidance on PPE, screening, contact tracing or school closure recommendations
- Developing methods for communication with divisions about on-campus health trends
- Conferring with the Facilities and Operations team
- Occupancy guidelines/restrictions based on state recommendations
- Expectations for parents, prospective students, and outside visitors
- Cleaning protocols used by our cleaning team
- Cleaning protocols for classroom teachers/individuals
- Sourcing and procurement of resources
- Installation of additional hand-washing or sanitizing stations
Social Distancing Physical Adaptations
- Recommendations for spacing/barriers to desks and counters – classrooms, offices, and public spaces
- Procedures to reduce touching of doors and/or cleaning of heavily used objects
- Developing appropriate signage/wayfinding instructions
Social Distancing Human Adaptations
- Altering “human traffic” patterns
- Potential restrictions for lockers and other max-contact areas
- Gathering guidelines and/or restrictions for larger groups
The re-entry task force and academic leadership teams are developing a robust and flexible, and mission-driven curricular delivery mechanisms that provide instructional continuity and excellence within a variety of scenarios.
This past few months has been a lucrative period of experimentation and we have learned a great deal. Moving forward, we will:
- leverage those lessons to implement a digital homebase/daily routines for each class that could support virtual and face-to-face learning,
- streamline communication and class expectations,
- and evaluate appropriate expectations in hybrid environment
In looking at planning the upcoming school year, we will prioritize:
An environment that:
- allows for coordinated and clear communication,
- builds opportunities for collaboration and community building, and
- accommodates base instructional delivery regardless of location.
A schedule that:
- reduces unnecessary contact between individuals as much as possible,
- easily pivots between different delivery modes, and
- provides the flexibility necessary to run robust co-curricular programming for advisory, clubs, activities, and community building.
And school experience and a schedule that, together,
- promotes employee and student wellness, and
- is philosophically aligned with our mission and beliefs about learning.
We expect to shift between three operational modes next school year.
- Phase Green – Minimal Physical Distancing/Limiting Large Gatherings
- Phase Yellow – Moderate Physical Distancing / Limiting Large Gatherings
- Phase Orange - Preschool In-Person/K-8 Remote
- Phase Blue - Preschool - 4th Grade In-Person/5th - 8th Grade Remote
- Phase Red – Virtual / Essential Personnel Only
Current planning assumes school will open on August 17 with some form of distancing expectations (Yellow). We are looking at the best ways to onboard new students that could include prioritizing their first days on campus.
Living with a highly contagious virus means that our routines will be disrupted to minimize spread until a treatment or vaccine can be fully implemented.
Assuming we will have limitations on movement and gathering, we are projecting two variations of distancing.
B'nai Shalom students will operate solely online. While being apart is not ideal, B'nai Shalom provides iPad's as part of tuition for all our students. However, we recognize that this level of restriction could have significant impact on families. As faculty explore hybrid modes this spring and summer, we will keep students and parents informed as our planning evolves.
A strict form of distancing might see no large indoor gatherings in school, such as lunch, presentations, and services. It might also assume there are no large community events, even if they are held outdoors, because social distancing would be too difficult to enforce. Expect some changes to the school schedule.
A mild form of distancing might still see no, or modified, large indoor gatherings on campus, such as lunch, presentations, and services. It might also assume a limit on large community events, even if they are held outdoors, because social distancing would be too difficult to enforce. Expect some changes to the school schedule.
B'nai Shalom is exploring all aspects of these models to determine how to best meet our philosophy and instructional delivery preferences.
While we value our independence, when it comes to delivering the best academic program for our students during a global pandemic, we must remain connected to the wider community and not act unilaterally in decisions regarding our students’ and the larger public health.
To that end, in addition to being guided by our task forces and community data, B'nai Shalom will also continue to consult with local public and private schools, as well as regional and national associations, to gather data and make informed decisions.
Switching between operational modes will be decided using the following inputs:
- Governmental requirements/guidelines
- Science/health metrics: treatments, response capacity, virus spread
- Community (Guilford County) health and outbreaks data
At this time, B'nai Shalom and it's partner athletic organizations will not be holding sports for the 2020 - 2021 school year.
Financial Considerations & Support
We recognize the stay-at-home order and subsequent economic shutdown has impacted the finances of many families. B'nai Shalom wishes to be as responsive and flexible as possible during this uncertain time.
Families wishing to discuss the need for a more flexible payment plan or potential tuition assistance should reach out to our Business Director, Ari Hausman, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As of now, the CDC requires a two-week quarantine for international travel only. As a school, however, when hotspots occur in certain US cities, we will ask travelers and family members to quarantine for two weeks. If a family has visitors from other countries or designated hotspots, they children would be asked to quarantine for two weeks as well.
We are all in this together so we are asking you to use your best judgment. Our goals are one in the same, to keep the school community healthy. We are relying on anyone who travels to follow the CDC guidelines; frequent hand washing, wearing a mask in venues other than the home and practicing social distancing. Please know that the information we are receiving right now may no longer be valid in August when school reopens. We will continue to keep you updated.