March 12, 2020

Dear Pardes Community,

This evening each family will either receive emails from your children’s teachers or folders in their backpacks regarding the remote learning plan that was discussed in detail in my last communication. As a reminder, this remote learning plan will only take effect in the event of our school closing due to COVID-19. We are actively monitoring the situation, which we know to be very fluid, and are working hard to make decisions in the best interest of our students and community as they are needed. As of now, school remains open.

The COVID-19 timeline of events has accelerated over the past several days. We are receiving significant input and guidance from our public health agencies, expert physicians in our community, and from our extensive network of education leaders in Arizona and throughout the  country. We are actively working to be as proactive as we can be to ensure the safety of our students, our employees, and our families. In recent days, the need to reduce all possible gatherings with outside adults has become very apparent. As you know, a number of studies show that reducing social contact will both shorten the length of time of the outbreak as well as reduce the transmission of COVID-19 infections. 

We recognize there are many implications and impacts as we consider the upcoming programs at Pardes, but we have concluded that in order to ensure the safety and well-being of our community, we will have to modify our plans for upcoming events on our calendar. Our goal is to be as thoughtful as possible, and to always remain sensitive to the multiple considerations in the Pardes community. To that end, we have decided that until further notice, only students, faculty, and staff will be allowed on campus including drop-off and pick-up. The exception is tomorrow morning’s First Grade Siddur Ceremony due to the short notice of this change of policy. Please note, this impacts the following events:

1)    Siddur Ceremony (March 13, 2020) – Only parents of the students in grade 1 will be able to attend.

2)    All Kabbalat Shabbats – Only students and faculty will attend.

3)  NJHS Induction Ceremony (March 16, 2020) - Postponed until after Spring Break

4)   Parent-Teacher Conferences (March 19 - 20, 2020) - Cancelled. Please feel free to email your child’s teacher with any questions or concerns, or to arrange a time to have a conversation by phone. There is still no school for students on March 20th

5)    Seussical Rehearsal (March 15th and 16th, 2020) – Only cast and faculty – please drop off and pick up your children at the red gate.

With regard to the performances of Seussical this Tuesday and Wednesday, we have made the very difficult decision to live stream the show rather than perform in front of an audience. We know that ideally children love performing for a live audience, but there is no higher cause than keeping your children and our community safe. Additionally, the Seussical cast will perform the show for the entire student body on Tuesday.

I will be sending out additional communication regarding future campus events by early next week.

I have one last, but very important request. Please be assured that I will update you as quickly as I can with any new decisions we make, or any additional changes we need to implement.  We are starting to see a fair amount of misinformation making its way around, and we recognize that it can compound anxiety and confusion to an already challenging time. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me personally.

Kind Regards,

Peter Gordon
Head of School