School Update, June 30, 2020

June 30, 2020
Dear UJS Parents,

We promised to update you over the course of the summer regarding our progress in planning for the fall. Over the past few weeks, we have met with a special UJS Task Force and we have made some important decisions.

Based on conversations with a number of school families we have heard a clear message that most parents strongly prefer a modified in-classroom learning experience over a distance learning platform. We and the task force understand that if there is a surge of new COVID-19 cases later this year, and if the public schools close and move to distance learning,  and if the governor reinstates the stay-at-home order, then we will need to comply too. As of today, we are taking the following steps to prepare for school in the fall: 

  • We are looking for teachers to replace two who are not returning from last year. If you have any interest in becoming a teacher we invite you to contact either one of us for more information.
  • We are planning to move the classes into larger learning spaces, at both Temple Emanuel and Ahavas Israel. Tentatively, we are considering moving the older classes to Ahavas Israel and staggering the start and end times so parents would easily be able to drop off and pick up at both locations. We would use spaces like the Sanctuary, all-purpose room, triple classroom, and the gift shop lounge for the larger groups, and classrooms for the smaller groups, at Temple, and the Social Hall, foyer, meeting room, library, and a classroom at the synagogue.
  • We are planning to institute a car line for drop off and pickup to keep the hallways clear of parents waiting for their children and have teachers and aides escort students in and out of the building to and from their classrooms.
  • We will not be offering a snack for most of the students, perhaps with an exception for the very youngest students.
  • We are setting up Google Suite and Google Classroom as a consistent way for parents and teachers and students to communicate within the class, which will include Google Meet, a built-in video-conferencing platform.
  • We have spoken with all of our teachers to get their feedback from the past year and will be communicating with them regularly this summer and throughout the school year to mentor and support them.
  • We are researching curricula that can easily transition to online learning, should it become necessary. The teaching staff will receive instruction this summer on best practices in online teaching and use of Google Meet.

We welcome your feedback on what we have done so far as well as your suggestions and ideas as we continue to plan for the fall.  We will continue to be in contact throughout the summer.  Wishing you good health and a great 4th of July weekend.

Sincerely, Rabbi David Krishef and Rabbi Michael Schadick

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