Click her for a PDF of the full Reopening Plan

In order to ensure the health and wellness of the children and adults in our community, including those who are most vulnerable because of age or underlying conditions, we all need to commit to:

  1. Following state and local guidelines in place to minimize spread of COVID-19. Make sure your family members follow best practices for social distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding large gatherings. Do not take unnecessary risks.
  2. Treating each other with generosity and the benefit of the doubt. If you are concerned about another community member’s actions, or about the school’s actions, raise this concern with the Head of School or the COO directly and quickly. Avoid the spread of gossip. When a community member contracts COVID-19, ask how you can help their family; do not blame or shame them.
  3. Remaining a united front. Our children need their adults, parents, teachers, administrators, to be on the same page and to convey that we are working together. Please reinforce school policies at home, even if you think that they are unnecessarily strict. Call us directly if you think that a policy is not strict enough, and please make sure not to share your critique with your children.

The strategies described in this section are all being employed to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission in school. These core strategies include:

  • A) Ventilation
  • B) Pre-Screening
  • C) Hygiene
  • D) Masks
  • E) Pod Cohorts
  • F) Social Distancing
  • G) Limiting Entrance to Staff and Students
  • H) Family Cooperation

As you read through these strategies, you may ask yourself whether each can be implemented in a pure way, and whether some of the scenarios we plan around seem to undermine certain strategies. For instance, you may wonder why we would place desks six feet apart while still allowing students to work in groups. These are reasonable questions. The answer is that we are employing multiple layers of risk mitigation strategies. Taken as a whole, we are working to create the safest possible environment for children to learn in by ensuring proper ventilation, dividing into “pods,” wearing masks, and following social distance guidelines. Some risk, however, is inevitable when we bring students and teachers together, in person, to learn.

We believe that, given the low transmission of COVID-19 in our area at the moment, on balance it is better for children to learn in person with these protocols in place. We are prepared to pivot and alter our approach should the risk profile change.

In addition to implementing and enforcing these policies, teachers will also educate students about health and hygiene in more intensive ways than in years past. This education will happen grade by grade in developmentally appropriate ways, with an emphasis on empowerment rather than fear. 

South Campus:

  • The HVAC system, which covers the first floor, balcony, and second floor, has been updated to promote maximal air exchange. Filters have been replaced with Merv-13 filters.
  • All classrooms being used on the third and fourth floors have multiple windows per classroom, which will remain open during school hours to maximize air flow in classrooms. We will endeavor to keep these windows open in most weather, but some extreme weather conditions may require otherwise.
  • All classrooms being used on the third and fourth floors have in-window airconditioning units. These units have had new filters installed, which will be replaced monthly.
  • All classrooms and offices will have portable air purifiers with HEPA filters.

North Campus:

  • All classrooms include multiple windows, which will remain open during school hours to maximize air flow in classrooms. We will endeavor to keep these windows open in most weather, but some extreme weather conditions may require otherwise.
  • In-window air-conditioning units are installed in all classrooms. These units have had new filters installed, which will be replaced monthly.
  • All classrooms and offices will have portable air purifiers with HEPA filters.

Increased Outdoor Time:

  • Gan will have extended playtime outdoors each day. 4
  • Weather permitting, students in grades Kevutzot and Chativah (K-7) will eat lunch outdoors (picnic style) with their classes in either Central Park or Riverside Park (depending on their Campus).
  • Most grades will also have at least one class outsider per day, weather permitting, either in the park or on the roof of the North Campus.
  • Grades 2-7 will all have tefillah on the roof of the North Campus between 2 and 4 times per week.
  • All teachers may elect to spend more time outdoors in the park based on weather and the needs of a particular lesson.
  • Outdoor recess will take place as often as possible, including during light rain (see section below on gear to assemble/purchase in advance of school). 
  • New York State mandates pre-screening children and staff for COVID-19 each morning before they leave their homes for school.
  • We will be using Parent Locker, a standardized app, for daily pre-screening. All family and staff members will download the app to their phones. Parents will receive information about this new app in the weeks before school starts.
  • If your family forgets to pre-screen, a familiar face will greet you at the school door, quickly take your child’s temperature with a thermal temperature device, and ask the parent/caregiver to complete the pre-screening form on the app before the child can enter the building.
  • Handwashing: Each class will develop handwashing rituals that ensure students are washing their hands regularly and effectively. Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed in each classroom and in hallways and communal spaces.
  • Classroom Cleaning Responsibilities: Students will clean their work areas with disinfecting wipes before lunch each day.
  • Professional Cleaning: The whole school will be professionally cleaned each evening; bathrooms will be cleaned twice a day, during the school day, as well. In the Gan, toys and other items that children might put in their mouths will also be cleaned daily. 

Requirements

  • Masks in Classrooms:
    • As per NYS interim guidelines, all students in K-12 grade are required to wear masks during the day.
    • REVISED: All Gan students will be required to wear masks during the day. 
    • All staff and teachers, in all grades, will wear masks all day.
  • Hallways and pass-through areas: All students, including Gan students, will be required to wear masks in hallways and other pass-through areas.
  • Breaks: Students may request short “mask breaks” during the day should they need one. Students will be distanced at least 6 feet apart from classmates when taking mask breaks.
  • REVISED: Outdoors: All students will be required to wear masks while walking to the park. K-7 students may take mask breaks when they are outside and are 6 or more feet apart from others. Gan students may take off their masks once they arrive at the park.

Mask Supply & Management

  • Types of Masks: Students may wear any type of masks that meets CDC standards and fits appropriately, whether that mask is reusable or disposable. Students may not wear masks with any words on them, unless it is a Beit Rabban-designed mask. Students and parents should also consider whether the mask of their choice is appropriate for school. Please note that students may not wear valve masks as these do NOT meet safety standards.
  • Storing Masks at School:
    • Each student is required to bring three (3) masks in a marked zip-top bag to be kept at school. In addition, each student must bring two (2) masks to school each day: one that they are wearing, and one as a back-up in their backpack.
    • Masks should be labeled with students’ names.
    • Lanyard: Each student will receive a lanyard at their in-person orientation the week before school starts, which they will be required to wear to school every day. Masks should be attached to the lanyard before arrival at school, so any time masks are removed during the day (during lunch, for example) they will hang on the lanyards.

Teacher Masks:

  • During certain instructional times, teachers will wear masks with inserts of clear material to allow students to see their faces, unless they are unable to wear such masks for medical reasons. 

Each class will constitute a specific “pod” of children and 2-3 teachers; each pod will have very limited interaction with other pods or individuals. The pod system is intended to limit the number of people with whom each child/adult interacts on any given day.

  • Size: Pods will be no larger than 15 students. Each pod on Gan and Kevutzot will have 2 or 3 teachers assigned to it, and pods in Chativah will have about 4 teachers assigned to them.
  • Crossing Pods: Pods will not cross during the day, except that 2 pods comprising fewer than 20 students in total may have outdoor recess together.
  • Teachers: Most teachers will be embedded exclusively in one pod all day. Some specialist teachers may teach in multiple pods, in which case social distancing will be even more strictly 6 enforced. In the Chativah, each humanities, science/math, and Judaics teacher will teach 2 pods: one group of teachers will teach two separate fifth grade pods, and another group of teachers will teach both the 6th-grade and the 7th-grade pods.

Social distancing rules will be strictly observed in communal areas such as hallways. Modified forms of social distancing will also be employed in each classroom.

Classrooms: Each classroom has at least 36 square feet allocated per child in order to ensure that, whenever possible, we can meet best practices of spacing children six (6) feet apart.

  • Tables/Desks
    • Gan: The Gan will continue to use shared tables with accommodations made to encourage some distance between students. However, social distancing will be significantly relaxed in the Gan both because, from a developmental perspective, it is more difficult to maintain distance and because evidence suggests that Gan-aged children are less likely to spread the virus. The main strategy in the Gan will be pod creation and limiting the interaction beyond this small cohort.
    • Kevutzot: Each student in grades K-7 will have their own desk, and desks will be placed six feet apart. Seating arrangements will be flexible, allowing students to work in socially-distanced groups as well as in greater proximity when it is deemed both necessary and appropriate.
  • Hallways and Shared Spaces: Students will not congregate in hallways or shared spaces. Floor markers will indicate appropriate distancing, and there will be limits placed on the number of children in these spaces at all times, including during arrival and dismissal and when students are on the way to recess or the bathroom.

Arrival and Dismissal: Arrival and dismissal will occur in three distinct groups so as to limit the number of students entering and exiting the buildings at one time and reduce the possibility of cross-exposure.

  • Administration and staff will oversee arrival and dismissal in each building. ○ Parents/caregivers will say goodbye at the entrance to school, as only students and faculty will be allowed in the building.
  • Students in grades 1-7 will proceed immediately to their classrooms. In preschool, Kindergarten, one classroom teacher for each grade will meet their own students in the lobby at each arrival slot and walk them up, as a group, to their classroom, where the other teacher will be waiting for them.
  • The arrival/dismissal schedule for each family has been shared via email.
  • Parents & Caregivers: In order to reduce exposure, only students and staff will be permitted to enter the buildings this year. Sadly, this means that parents and caregivers will have to drop off children at the door, rather than at their classrooms, and will not be able to join events at school in person. When a child needs to be picked up early from school for any reason, they will be escorted to the door of school to meet their parent or caregiver.
  • Outside Contractors: In order to reduce exposure, we will not be contracting with any outside providers this year for in-person physical education or any after-school or other programs. Should we require outside professionals in the school to address facilities issues, we will work hard to schedule these appointments during non-school hours.
  • DOE Service Providers: SETTS providers and 1:1 paraprofessionals will be treated as staff for the purposes of all COVID-19 protocols. Other DOE providers, such as therapists, speech and language pathologists, and occupational therapists will likely work remotely this year. If your child receives any such services, Shlomit Levy, Director of Student Support, will contact you with specific details.
  • All adults who are permitted in the school buildings will comply with the same pre-screening requirements mandated for children. 
  • Daily Pre-Screening: Each family must prescreen and complete a daily questionnaire via the Parent Locker app every morning before making their way to school. If a child’s pre-screening yields a “not cleared” result on the app, that child may not attend school that day.

Social Distancing & Masks: Make sure your family members follow state and local guidelines and best practices for social distancing, wearing masks, and avoiding large gatherings.

Travel-Related Quarantine:

  • All Beit Rabban families must comply with New York State Precautionary Quarantine rules when they return to New York from a “Restricted State.”
  • Please note that will not accept “testing out” of the 14-day quarantine after returning from a “Restricted State;” negative COVID test results are not a substitute for the 14- day quarantine after returning from a “hot spot.” Additionally, quarantining while in the “hot spot” itself does not negate the requirement to quarantine for 14 days upon returning home. ○ We recommend 14 day-quarantine after ANY air travel as airports are very high risk for COVID exposure 8
  • We ask that a family inform Beit Rabban’s administration if anyone in that family is observing a Precautionary Quarantine.

Staying Home (Quarantine, Self-Isolation etc.): All Beit Rabban family members must:

  • Stay at home if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Comply with state and local quarantine and self-isolation protocols when exposed to another person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Birthday Parties and Class Gatherings: In addition to complying with all applicable federal, state, and local social distancing protocols, families may not host indoor birthday parties or other class gatherings this year.

Play Dates: We encourage families to arrange outdoor play dates. Even though children may be in the same pod during school hours, they are not directly exposed to each others’ family members and caregivers as they would be during an in-home play date.

Communication with School: Parents must inform Beit Rabban administration immediately in the event that a student, a student’s immediate family member, or a student’s caregiver:

  • Tests positive for COVID-19.
  • Has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Is in quarantine or self-isolation for other COVID-19 reasons.

Inevitably, students and staff get sick every year. We expect that most of the time, students and staff who get sick will not have COVID-19. Nonetheless, both law and logic dictate that we must be extra vigilant this year in order to ensure that anyone who manifests COVID-19 symptoms follows a clear plan to prevent transmission to others. We have designated a Health Clerk in each building to be responsible for all communication between families and the school with respect to people who become symptomatic and/or test positive. The Health Clerk will also be responsible for overseeing an Isolation Room in each campus, where the Health Clerk will wait with a symptomatic child for their parent or caregiver to take them home. 

NYC DOH Regulations are referenced throughout this :

Guidelines for Isolation, Quarantine & Return to School:

DEFINITIONS 

Direct Exposure: This is defined by the NYS DOH to include: 

○ You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more. 
○ You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19. 
○ You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them). 
○ You shared eating or drinking utensils. 
○ They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you. 

Family Members: All immediate family members, caregivers, and others with whom you may share a residence. 

Symptomatic: Displaying any of the following COVID 19 symptoms: 

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomachache
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Poor appetite or poor feeding

SCENARIO A: Student or Staff Member is SYMPTOMATIC

Step #1: Detection:

  • If Detected at Home:
    • Student/staff member should stay home.
    • Notify the Health Clerk.
    • Schedule immediate appointment with doctor.
  • If Detected at School:
    • Student/staff member will be taken to isolation room.
    • Student must be picked up by parent or caregiver within the hour.
    • Schedule immediate appointment with a doctor. 

Step #2: Doctor Evaluation:

  • COVID-19 Diagnosis
    • INFORM: Inform school Health Clerk immediately.
    • ISOLATE: Student/Staff Member isolate in accordance with NYS and NYC DOH regulations for 10 days from onset up symptoms.
    • QUARANTINE: Pod and Family Members quarantine in accordance with NYS and NYC DOH regulations for 14 days after last exposure to student/staff member.
    • NOTE: Quarantine does NOT extend to Secondary Contacts. family members of classmates or classmates of family members. E.g. a sibling’s class does not need to quarantine.

 

  • ALTERNATIVE Diagnosis
    • ​Must provide alternative viral/bacterial diagnosis or diagnosis of chronic condition that is not contagious.
    • Neither Pod nor Family Members need quarantine.
  • Diagnosis UNCLEAR

    • If a student/staff member is symptomatic but a doctor is not sure whether they have COVID-19 and does not provide an alternative diagnosis, the school will consult with the doctor and medical advisory committee to determine next steps with respect to the student/staff member’s return to school.

Step #3: Return to School

a. ALTERNATIVE Diagnosis: Return to school upon meeting both criteria:  (a) 48 hours fever free without fever reducing medication and (B) doctor’s clearance.

b. YES COVID-19 Diagnosis: Return to school upon meeting both criteria: (1) 10 days after onset of symptoms and (2) doctor’s clearance

c. Diagnosis UNCLEAR: If a student/staff members is symptomatic but a doctor is not sure whether they have COVID-19 and does not provide an alternative diagnosis, the school will consult with the doctor and medical advisory committee to determine next steps with respect to the student/staff member’s return to school.

When a student or staff member has direct exposure to COVID-19 Positive Person OR Direct Exposure to Person with High Likelihood Symptoms (irrespective whether student/staff member is symptomatic or asymptomatic them self) 

Step #1: QUARANTINE

  • Must quarantine according to NYS DOH regulations (14 days after their last exposure to the person). Note that a negative COVID-19 test does not negate the need for a full quarantine. 

Step #2: COVID-19 Test

  • Positive Test Results: 
    • INFORM: Inform Health Clerk immediately.

      ISOLATE: Isolate as per NYS and NYC DOH regulations for 10 days from positive test results.

      QUARANTINE: Pod and Family quarantine for 14 days after last exposure to COVID-19 positive student/staff member.

  • Negative Test Results:
    • Inform Health Clerk immediately.

      Continue to quarantine for 14 days from exposure as per NYS and NYC DOH regulations.

      Neither Pod nor Family need quarantine.

Step #3: Return to School

a. Remain Asymptomatic: Return to school after quarantine or isolation period as outlined above.

b. Become Symptomatic: If a student/staff member becomes symptomatic during their quarantine, even if they test negative, SCENARIO A takes effect,and they can only return to school upon meeting both criteria: (1) 10 days after onset of symptoms and (2) doctor’s clearance.

A) Quarantine

We anticipate that individual students, teachers, and classes will be observing quarantine for different reasons throughout the school year. As long as a student is not sick, they should participate in school while home in quarantine.

  • When school is “Ba’Binyan,” in-person, and a student must stay home to comply with quarantine rules, they will join class virtually. This will look different in different grades and will be explained to the parents and students when this occurs.
  • When a full class is in quarantine, that class will switch to distance learning as a whole group, akin to Beit Rabban Ba’Anan.

B) “Zoomers”

Some students cannot attend school in person this year due to the pandemic. We are committed to serving each of these students as they deserve and to continuing to steward their intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth. To this end, our education team is working to develop a “Zoomers” program that will combine elements of learning within their full class via remote technology, learning in pairs with other students who are either learning in person or Zooming, learning offline, and learning directly with teachers and other Zoomers in their grade.

  • Families who have informed us that their children will be learning remotely as Zoomers will receive a personalized plan, including schedule, for their child’s learning on August 21.
  • We understand that circumstances may change over the course of the year that may allow a Zoomer to return to the in-person classroom and/or require a student attending school inperson to become a Zoomer. At the same time, we must be careful not to impose destabilizing changes on our children during this already confusing time. Families who would like to switch from a Zoomer schedule to in-person learning, or vice versa, should reach out to our Principal, Ingrid Goldfein, to discuss their children’s circumstances and find the right transition point for this change.

C) Sick Days

Teachers and students who are home sick will not join class virtually. They should rest and take care of themselves as they would have before the pandemic. 

All communal programs will take place on Zoom this year in order to allow for family participation while also limiting exposure. In some cases, students may participate in person from their respective classes while family members are invited to Zoom in. These Zoom programs will likely include rites of passage such as the Torah Reading Ceremony, culminations, some holiday celebrations, parent town halls, and parent-teacher conferences.

Returning to school from summer vacation is always a big transition for children. This year it is obviously an even more significant transition. In the weeks to come, you will receive an overview of our comprehensive plans to support children’s return to school. In the meantime, outlined below are 11 a few things we would like families to do in preparation for the start of the new school year. We also outline a schedule for scaffolded return to school.

A) At Home before School Starts 

Please take some time over the month leading up to school to do the following with your children:

  • Masks: Find masks that comport with CDC protocols and work well for your child. Practice putting masks on and off and wearing them for periods of time.
  • Handwashing: Practice proper handwashing a lot! Follow CDC protocols to make sure you are practicing correctly with your children.
  • Lunchtime:
    • Depending on the age of your child, work on opening and closing lunch bags, and choose packaging that can be managed independently by your child.
    • Practice chewing with mouth closed and not talking while chewing.
  • Face Touching: Work with your child to notice when they touch their face and to immediately wash hands or use hand sanitizer after doing so. Encourage your child to avoid face touching.
  • Classmates and Teachers Not Returning: Once class assignments are shared, take some time to talk to your children about friends or teachers who may not be returning to school. Please let us know whether there is anything your child’s teacher should know about how your child is feeling and how to best support them. If you would like support or guidance before having this conversation with your child, please reach out to our Director of Student Support, Shlomit Levy.

B) Start of School Ba’Binyan

  • REVISED: Family Visits (In Person and Zoomer Students): Students in all grades will visit their classrooms on either Wednesday, September 2 or Thursday, September 3. These visits will be scheduled between 8:30AM-1:00PM on a family by family basis, and we ask parents to join. You should expect to receive your family’s time slot the week of August 24. Families with children returning in person will visit each of their children’s classroom in person. Families with children returning as Zoomers will have these visits over Zoom.
  • Class Meet-Ups: Gan & Garinim will have one class meet-ups in Central Park (location TBD) on Thursday, September 3. If it is raining on Thursday, classes will be meeting on Friday, September 4 with the same times:

    • Gan Kachol: 9:00-9:30AM

    • Gan Sagol: 9:30-10:00AM

    • Garinim: 10:00-10:30AM

  • REVISED: Virtual Orientations: All classes will have an online orientation over Zoom with their teachers on Tuesday, September 1 at the following times:​
    • 9:00-9:30AM: Gan Kachol and Gan Sagol
    • 9:30-10:00AM: Garinim (K), Shorashim (1), Shtillim (2), Anafim (3), and Alim (4)
    • 10:00-10:30AM: Nitzanim (5)
    • 10:30-11:00AM: Prachim (6) and Rimonim (7)
  • New Students Only: New students will also have a personal Zoom call with their teachers on the morning of Monday, August 31. Teachers will reach out directly to families to schedule these calls.
  • Zoomers Only: Zoomers will have a personal Zoom call with their teachers on the morning of Monday, August 31. Teachers will reach out directly to families to schedule these calls.
  • Staggered Start for All Students: Recognizing the unusual character of this year’s return to school, we are committed to ensuring a responsible transition for all of our students, both physically and emotionally. To this end, we are implementing a staggered start schedule in all grades for the first week of school. Arrival times will be as usual, and dismissal times will be progressively later each day. Please note that there are three dismissal times based on each family’s dismissal slot. 

A) Transitioning to and from Beit Rabban Ba’Anan (distance learning)

First and foremost, we will follow all applicable laws with respect to whether school may be open. Governor Cuomo has announced that schools, once open, will be required to close should infection rates in their city hit 9% or above. No announcement has been made with respect to reopening schools once they have closed. It is our goal to remain in-person for as long as is allowed by law. However, we may decide, based on the guidance of our COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee, to 13 transition to Beit Rabban Ba’Anan should circumstances within our community or region so require, even if New York City schools are legally permitted to meet in person.

B) Options for Gan Families

We will offer to all Gan students a distance learning program that is flexible and spans almost the full in-person school day. In such an event, tuition will not be adjusted for the first four weeks of Gan Ba’Anan. Thereafter, each family may choose between two adjusted tuition/program options:

  • Option A: Participate in Gan Ba’Anan program and pay 65% of tuition (net tuition). The remaining 35% of tuition can either (a) be transformed into a tax-deductible donation to the school or (b) be credited toward the 2021-22 tuition.
  • Option B: Decline to participate in the Gan Ba’Anan program and pay 30% of tuition. The remaining 70% of tuition can either (a) be transformed into a tax-deductible donation to the school or (b) be credited toward the 2021-22 tuition.

C) Zoomers

In the event of a transition from in-person school to Beit Rabban Ba’Anan, all Zoomer students will join their classes' regular Ba'Anan schedules. This transition plan will be outlined in individual Zoomer plans shared with parents of Zoomer students in advance of the start of school.

D) Preparing for Beit Rabban Ba’Anan

  • Classroom Preparation: Each class will discuss Beit Rabban Ba’Anan, in developmentally appropriate ways, in an attempt to normalize this likely possibility. Depending on the grade, students may practice using technology platforms that will be part of Beit Rabban Ba’Anan, review their class’s Beit Rabban Ba’Anan schedule, and discuss the rules of Beit Rabban Ba’Anan. Teachers will also have materials prepared for families to collect from the buildings in the event that we do transition to Beit Rabban Ba’Anan.
  • Home Preparation: We recommend that each family create their own Beit Rabban Ba’Anan preparation plan that covers the following things:
    • Technology:
      • Please make sure that your child has exclusive access to a computer during the school day while we are in Beit Rabban Ba’Anan. Students in K-7th grade should use computers (laptops or desktops) with a keyboard, not iPads or other tablets. Families who do not have a sufficient number of devices for each child will be able to borrow a Chromebook from the school.
      • Make sure that each of your children has a personal set of headphones that works with their device. Label these headphones.
      • We recommend acquiring a simple home printer to use in case we transition to distance learning.
    • Supplies: Students will take home their personal school supplies from their classrooms should we transition to Beit Rabban Ba’Anan. 
    • Work Area: Designate work areas in advance for each family member to use in the event that we transition to distance learning.
    • Exercise Plan: Discuss and determine an exercise plan for each child to follow in the event that we transition to distance learning, and make sure to collect whatever supplies or equipment you need to implement this plan.
    • Supervision Plan: Think through how you will supervise your child/ren during periods of distance learning. How much adult supervision do you expect will be needed, and how can you plan with others (such as your partner, older children, family members, friends, and/or paid caregivers)?