Dear RKYHS Students and Parents,
The first week in school was very energizing. Students were delighted to be back in their home away from home, eagerly engaged in in-person learning and seamlessly reintegrated into their familiar routines. Classroom instruction was magical. The soft open provided us with a window to assess the efficiency of the new program and the efficacy of our protocols. Below, I provide you with updates gleaned from our first week of school:
We are still refining our hybrid, synchronous teaching modality. Teachers participated in professional workshops to prepare for hybrid instruction prior to the first day of sessions, but some areas of our building have uneven wifi accessibility. We will hopefully resolve our technology issues next week.
Students have told us that they need mask breaks. As indicated in FAQ#1, please encourage your child to inform his/her teacher if a break is needed. Starting next week, we will permit drinking liquids from sports bottles equipped with non-disposable straws to be used under masks.
We adjusted our schedule to include five minute breaks between classes. Since students are not moving though the building to go to their classes, they should use the time for snacking--preferably outdoors.
Universal Zoom links:
Zoom links for each teacher will be available on each Google classpage. Additionally, all Zoom links for the RKYHS teachers can be found at this link:
Over the summer, Mr. Plotsker and Mr. Berger worked tirelessly, preparing
the JKHA/RKYHS campus for in-person learning. We are grateful to them
for dedicating their time and devoting their skills to plan for our thoughtful reopening. To better respond to the on-going need to maintain safety standards as the school year progresses, Mr. Plotsker has graciously agreed to oversee all campus Covid related responsibilities. Under his direction, JKHA/RKYHS will respond with alacrity to mitigate risks wherever possible.
As has already been evidenced, the transition has been seamless and Mr. Plotsker’s availability and intervention has been reassuring to our community. We thank Mr. Berger for assuming many of Mr. Plotsker’s former roles.
The loss of locker access may be the most challenging change students need to adjust to. Lockers are students' personal places and besides their utility, they are the hub of group and grade socializing. Because we need to limit hallway fraternizing, locker access has been eliminated. From a functional point of view, students should soon get accustomed to their new routine. Classroom locations are determined by grade, not by subject or teacher. Students will remain in the same vicinity throughout the school day. We encourage students to carry only what they need from class to class. Teachers are assigning textbook use for home use only.
Please remind your children to adhere to our dress code. Besides reflecting the school’s religious value, appropriate dress demonstrates respect to the school and the community.
Opening our campus to in-person learning was guided by our unswerving commitment to adhere to the highest standards of public safety. We invested an inordinate amount of time and resources to prepare for our students’ return to campus. The most important aspect of our infection prevention protocols, however, is personal responsibility. I recognize that students need time to acclimate to mask wearing and social distancing after a long hiatus out of school, but it is imperative that they follow our protocols. We will exclude students from classes if they violate our mask wearing policy. To reiterate our expectations:
- Masks are to be worn indoors at all times.
- Masks are to be worn outdoors if students are not socially distanced from one another
- Students should eat outdoors whenever possible. They are not permitted to eat in non-designated areas.
- While eating, students should be socially distanced.
We want to keep our community healthy and our campus open to in-person learning. Please help us. Please do not permit social gatherings that will induce violating our policies outside of school. Even on students’ own time, they need to be responsible for themselves and to others. The virus transmission numbers in New Jersey are rising, which requires vigilance. As of today, Temple University and others needed to close their doors to prevent the spread of the virus. University administrators say that Covid spread is a result of irresponsible socializing. Social gatherings are wonderful under normal circumstances. But under our current pandemic conditions, they can be a threat to the safety of everyone in the school. When Corona is behind us, we can go back to life’s routines. Unfortunately, now is not that time. Now is the time for us to do our part.
I look forward to another great week of learning. Please contact me if you have questions. We cherish our blessings and are thankful to reconvene as a community of learners.
Eliezer E. Rubin