November 11, 2020
24 Cheshvan 5781

Dear Levine Parents,

Many thanks to our parents and grandparents for participating in our Live Levine Update broadcast last night -- we had tremendous participation, which is testimony to our community's collective interest in safeguarding our children and faculty.

For those of you who were unable to join us, we are providing a recording of our presentation below. Our next LIVE Levine Update is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, December 8, at 8:00pm.

Live Levine Update with Head of School Tom Elieff 11.10.2020

Here is a run-through of a selection of general interest questions submitted during the presentation, along with our responses:

What is the school's plan for Winter Break?
Our current calendar dates still stand as for now for in-person school --
  • Last day of school prior to Winter Break: Friday, December 18.
  • First day of school following Winter Break: Tuesday, January 5.
It is likely we will institute again the same optional registration for two weeks of virtual and at-home learning, but we first would like to assess how Thanksgiving Break and our post-Thanksgiving experience goes here at Levine.

Is there a way to communicate with families about the hazards of out-of-school sports organizations during this pandemic -- especially those programs with no mask policies?
Our Dallas County Health Department officials placed our region under a "red zone" risk level in October, which means to stay home and stay safe. Judge Clay Jenkins has asked all school superintendents and heads to ask their communities to observe this risk level by refraining from participating in after school sports or other recreational activities.

Will the school ever mandate no after school activities or play dates?
We are not in a position to monitor after school activities and play dates, and thus are unable to issue mandates of this nature; however, we will continue to ask our families to exercise safe practices and good judgment when it comes to any activities or socialization for their children.

You mentioned we need to quarantine after Thanksgiving if we travel or participate in a large family gathering -- aren't there safe ways to travel or to be with a family whereby we wouldn't have to quarantine?
Yes, there are indeed very safe ways to travel and to be with one's family. We would like our families to consider what any travel plans will entail -- would this "travel" simply be a day trip whereby the family stays together, wears masks in public, and avoids eating in restaurants as well as avoids large gatherings? Then this of course would be safe travel and there should be no need to quarantine after Thanksgiving. Likewise, if the "large family gathering" takes place in the backyard, with immediate family remaining together, separated from one another, and masks are worn outside of meal time -- this again would be a safe gathering, and this family would not need to quarantine.

We want families to make the decision on what they feel is best. The school is not going to serve as the arbiter of everyone's vacation plans. Thanksgiving Break will be an important time for families to assess their plans, be conscientious about their experiences and conduct, and of course to be responsible for making the right decision about a family quarantine following Thanksgiving.

Can kids wear shields instead of masks?
No. The CDC has continued to recommend the wearing of masks, and they have asserted that shields are not an appropriate replacement for masks.

What happened with the students and teachers of the 8th graders where the case occurred? Did anyone test positive?
All of the tests submitted to the school from quarantining teachers and 8th grade students were negative.

How aggressive has the school been about having our faculty and staff get flu shots?
Our faculty and staff participated in an all-employee flu clinic held on the Levine campus on Friday, October 9, that was very well attended -- all employees who hadn't received their flu shot received their shots on that day.

When a vaccine is available, will the school make it mandatory for all students and teachers?
We will follow the advice from the TEA (Texas Education Agency) and the TDEM (Texas Department of Emergency Management) who are the likely governmental agencies to manage the vaccine in schools. At the same time, we will need to obtain sanction from the Texas Private School Association regarding the issuance of a mandate that all enrolled students and all employees must receive the vaccine.

What is the school's position on class-wide overnight camping trips where the kids bunk together?
Entering into this school year, and for the near future, Levine has cancelled all of its off-campus and overnight field trips. We would hold that same position for family-generated overnight camping trips. We would ask our families to consider postponing these trips until such time as the risk levels move all the way back down the scale, from red to orange to yellow and finally to green.

Thank you again for participating in our presentation and for submitting your questions. Once again, our next Live Levine Update will take place on Tuesday, December 8, at 8:00PM.

Continue to make the right choices and to stay well,

Tom Elieff, Head of School