March 14, 2020

Dear Pardes Community,

The time has come for us to make the difficult decision to temporarily close our campus effective immediately until April 20, 2020 and transition to remote learning on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 through the beginning of Passover break. This decision was one we were hoping we did not have to make. However, the rising tide and continuing momentum of school closings, the drastic concern both locally and nationally of the health situation, and continued significant concern with the unpredictability and fluid change of what we are dealing with forced us to do so at this time. As always, we will continue to monitor the situation closely, and if the return date changes, either being earlier or later, we will communicate with you right away. 

As you know, our administration, faculty, and staff are committed to providing the best possible remote learning experience for all of our students, while maintaining our high standards of excellence. While we know it cannot replicate the experience of being at school, we want to maintain the joy of learning in the strongest ways we can during these difficult times. As was discussed in our prior correspondences, your children’s teachers have sent home materials and/or emails detailing the remote learning plans. By Monday, March 16, 2020, our Academic Principal, Ms. Lock, will send out more comprehensive details of the remote learning plans by grade level.

The remote learning plan this week is scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday, and Friday will remain a day off for the students as originally planned. All grades should expect to see daily video greetings, video lessons and Schoology posts. For grades 4-8, also expect to be involved with Google Meets. Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, we will move to a more robust remote learning plan model where grades K-3 will begin to add in times to meet as a class through Google Meets, and grades 4-8 will follow their daily class schedule. Rest assured, Ms. Lock’s upcoming communication will clarify and detail everything you need to know. 

The faculty and staff will spend Monday to refine any procedures regarding materials, technology and curriculum. If you need Schoology support regarding logging in or passwords, please contact Ms. Strolle. If you need support with any aspect of the remote learning plan (viewing videos, Google Meets, downloading documents), please contact your child's teacher, advisor, or Ms. Lock. 

Additionally, if your student needs to come to campus on Monday to retrieve any materials or belongings, please see the schedule below for the time to come to campus. We have staggered the times for students to avoid any large gatherings at this point.

9:00 a.m. Last names beginning A-F
9:30 a.m. Last names beginning G-L
10:00 a.m. Last names beginning M-R
10:30 a.m. Last names beginning S-Z

If you need medication that Nurse Lisa has in her office, please email her this weekend to arrange for your child to retrieve it while on campus on Monday. 

We know how difficult this decision may be for some families who have to figure out child care as they navigate their own jobs. We want to try to help mitigate this as much as possible. If you find yourself in this situation, please do not hesitate to reach out to either Mr. Gordon, Ms. Lock or Ms. Evans.

Finally, we want to thank all of you for your patience, flexibility, and support. Please do not hesitate to reach out to either of us should you have any questions or concerns.

We offer below a prayer shared this Shabbat morning at The New Shul by Rabbi Elana Kanter. The prayer was written by Rabbi Naomi Levy. It reminds us that we are a strong community, and we have no doubt that we will navigate this together with success.

A Prayer of Hope During this Pandemic
by Rabbi Naomi Levy
We are frightened, God.
Worried for our loved ones,
Worried for our world.
Helpless and confused.
We turn to You,
Seeking comfort, faith and hope.
Teach us God, to turn our panic into patience,
And our fear into acts of kindness and support.
Our strong must watch out for our weak.
Our young must take care of our old.
Help each one of us to do our part to halt the spread of this virus.
Send strength and courage to the doctors and nurses
On the frontlines of this battle.
Fortify them with the full force of their healing powers.
Send wisdom and insight to the scientists
Working day and night across the world to discover healing treatments.
Bless their efforts, God.
Fill our leaders with the wisdom and the courage
To choose wisely and act quickly.
Help us, God, to see that we are one world,
One people
Who will rise above this pandemic together.
Send us health, God,
Watch over us,
Grace us with Your love,
Bless us with Your healing light.

Kind Regards,
Peter Gordon
Head of School
Michael Sklar
President, Board of Directors