CJDS Head of School
Rachel Arcus-Goldberg
June 29, 2020 / 7 Tammuz 5780
Dear CJDS Community,

I hope that you are all managing well and taking good care.  

Last week, we shared with our families the important update about the coming academic year that our plan is to open and welcome students back to in-school learning in the fall. We currently plan to operate in a full-day, five-day-a-week, in-person mode. Of course, COVID-19 remains an evolving situation, so we will continue to develop alternative plans should the landscape change from what we currently expect. 

This past spring showed that CJDS was well-positioned to meet the challenges presented by COVID-19.  Through enormous dedication, teamwork, and creativity we managed to maintain high-quality learning, a spirit of community and socio-emotional support, even in the remote environment.  As unexpected and difficult as the emergence of COVID-19 was, I have been so heartened by the affirmative feedback from our families about the spring, and from countless people in the community at large, all recognizing this achievement. 

CJDS is so lucky to have faculty and staff who care passionately about the work we do, who are smart and creative, and who bring to each day the critical thinking and care for the community needed to navigate these changing and challenging times.  And we are so fortunate to have all of you, our families, our Board members, supporters, and a cadre of volunteers doing such important work for the well-being of the school.

In order to field applications for the limited spots available in each grade at CJDS for the coming school year, we are opening a new, accelerated, Admissions cycle with applications due on July 13th. More details for this process are attached .

The Talmud teaches: כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה, “kol yisrael arevim ze l’ze” -- the Jewish community (indeed, the entire community) is responsible for one another. As will be true in all aspects of our lives until a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available, the ways in which we teach, work, and live will feel different, and every member of our community will need to commit to a collective effort to protect the overall health, safety and well-being of one another and the CJDS community. Just as we structure each grade’s learning around Essential Questions, we are developing Essential Actions to guide our care for one another and our community this coming year. 

The three anchor points guiding the planning work for the fall of 2020-2021 are:
  • fulfilling our school’s mission of delivering academically excellent general and Jewish studies, and nurturing our students’ socio-emotional well being; 
  • prioritizing the health of our school community and minimizing risk of infection and transmission; and 
  • building flexibility and agility into our plans to allow for effective transitions where situations may require it.   

A COVID-19 task force consisting of teachers, medical and public health experts, and others experienced with operational and design planning, has been meeting already and will continue work throughout the summer. A non-exhaustive list of the work being done by the task force includes: 
  • designing our academic delivery model (including appropriate alternatives, if we need to toggle temporarily to remote learning either as a whole community, or at a more individualized level to accommodate student or faculty needs); 
  • operations and facilities planning (configuring spaces to enable social distancing, enhanced cleaning and sanitation measures, etc.); 
  • strategies, guidelines, and supplies for personal health and risk mitigation (including face masks, frequent hand-washing, hand sanitizers, and protocols for faculty, staff, and students for symptom-monitoring and staying home as needed); student transportation (determining bus availability and logistics); and more.  

I am optimistic that CJDS is in a strong position to succeed in these efforts, given the combination of our being a small school with a large footprint of physical space, and with such a strong school culture of communal well being. 
 
Thanks to all of you for your partnership and care for our wonderful school.
CJDS is a proud partner of JewishColumbus.