Letter from the Head of School:
Fall Community Pact
 
October 26, 2020
8 Cheshvan 5782
 
Dear Levine Parents,
 
Fall is officially here. COVID-19 numbers are up across the country. We all know there is much more at stake right now than bracing for the annual cold and flu season. This is not the time to let down our guard. Instead, we need to forge ahead doing what we know works: mask wearing, handwashing, social distancing, and staying home when not feeling well, and communicating to the team.
 
We have been very fortunate to have not had a positive COVID test result (among students or staff members since in-person school began) here on campus. With that said, it could happen at any time -- in fact we expect it to happen -- and we remain prepared to pivot. We know the procedures and protocols are exhausting -- please be mindful, nothing has changed. Please continue all the efforts you have been doing.
 
Our next LIVE LEVINE UPDATE will take place on Tuesday evening, November 10, at 8:00 PM. This UPDATE will discuss current trends in Dallas schools, what officials are telling us, and chart our community's course of action as we look ahead to our Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks.
 
We want to take a moment to remind families of our Community Pact and this year's middah (value) of Kavod (respect). Out of respect to our faculty members, students, and families -- please do not send your child(ren) to school if they are extremely congested and coughing, or if they are experiencing any of the telltale symptoms of COVID. We anticipate the last months of 2020 to be highly fluid; this will necessitate a strong school-home partnership.
 
Speaking of our faculty -- throughout this pandemic, the health of our school community has been my number one concern, and a significant preoccupation of mine has been our faculty and staff. Our faculty and staff have endured considerable stress working around the clock for months in order to sustain our new and complex priorities. In order to refresh and recharge our faculty and staff, we are incorporating Monday, November 23 and Tuesday, November, 24 into our Thanksgiving holiday break. By designating these days off for our teachers and staff and thus closing school for the week, we will encourage our teachers to provide time for themselves and their families; in the meantime, during that week, we will apply a full-scale deep cleaning throughout our facility. There will be no classes the week of November 23-27 -- campus will be closed for deep cleaning starting Monday, November 23.
 
PLEASE UPHOLD OUR COMMUNITY PACT FOR THANKSGIVING BREAK AND REGISTER FOR VIRTUAL INSTRUCTION FOR YOUR CHILD(REN) FOR THE WEEKS OF NOVEMBER 30 and DECEMBER 7:
 
As we head into the Thanksgiving Break, we are asking our campus community to uphold the following standards of conduct and responsibility as a part of the Levine Community Pact and Kavod for the health and safety of all of us:
    • Please refrain from traveling or frequenting places with high risk exposure to COVID-19; and refrain from attending large gatherings (10+ People) or letting your guard down in small gatherings.
    • During the Thanksgiving Break continue to encourage your child to wear face masks when outside of your home so that the habit is there when they return to school.
    • Regarding playdates, the CDC states, "The key to slowing the spread of Covid-19 is to limit contact as much as possible...While school is out, children should not have in-person playdates with children from other households." The CDC suggests, instead, "supervised phone calls or video chats with their friends."
Should you decide to travel in ways that elevate your risk exposure, or if you participate in or host a large (10+) family gathering over Thanksgiving Break, we ask that you forecast such intentions to the school and shift to virtual learning for your child(ren) for the two weeks following Thanksgiving Break. We will open a registration link on November 11 for families to declare the virtual option during the week after Thanksgiving and conclude this registration phase on November 16, in order for our faculty to have time to prepare and plan for this temporary expansion of our hybrid model. Similarly, we are mandating that faculty who travel or participate in large gatherings over Thanksgiving must be tested (and test negative) before resuming work. 

DAILY REMINDERS WHILE IN-PERSON SCHOOL IS IN SESSION:
  • Each school day morning, before heading to school, check in with your child for signs of illness [Make sure your child does not have a sore throat or other signs of illness, like a cough, diarrhea, severe headache, vomiting, body aches, or fever.] If your child is exhibiting any symptoms or has a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, he/she should not come to campus.
  • Continue practicing proper hand washing techniques at home, especially before and after eating, sneezing, coughing, and adjusting a face cover. Make hand washing fun and explain to your child why it's important.
  • If your child has had close contact to a COVID-19 case, he/she should not come to campus. Inform a school official (K8 Principal or EC Director) when a case or a suspected exposure emerges in your family. You will receive a call from members of the school's COVID Response Team to determine next steps. Prompt and full disclosure is essential -- given the stakes involved, failure to fulfill this expectation may result in the family's dismissal from Levine.
We recognize these originally scheduled 1 ½ days off on November 23rd and 24th may create challenges, but sustaining our employees' health and renewing our teachers' vitality, along with deep cleaning our school as we head into the winter season, will be essential to our strategy for ongoing success.
 
Our strong school-home partnership over these past seven months has been our success. Returning to distance learning is always a possibility should we have a cluster of cases or if the governor orders schools closed. An indefatigable commitment to our core health protocols throughout the year is our best chance to remain together on a healthy campus and with a healthy community.
 
We pray that this message finds you and your family well and staying safe.
 
All my best,
 
Tom Elieff, Head of School