Dear Senesh Parents:

It has been so wonderful being back in school with our students this week. April is bringing us warmer weather and we now only have nine weeks of school remaining. In August, I am not sure if any of us could have dreamed that we would keep our doors open all year. While it hasn’t always been easy, everyone in our community - faculty and staff, students, parents, board leadership, and the COVID-19Task group - truly leaned in to make it happen. I am grateful to all of you for your support and to our Board Chair Judy Schoenberg and our medical advisory team for always making time for my calls, text messages, emails, and meetings to help us navigate our way. 

As we look toward the last two months of school, I wanted to update you on some important changes to guidelines based on updated NYCDOHMH guidelines and the new CDC school guidelines that were adopted by the New York State Department of Health this past weekend. While all of the guidelines have not yet been adopted by NYCDOHMH, we expect these guidelines to be adopted in the coming weeks.

Here are immediate changes based on guidelines already adopted by the NYCDOHMH:

  • We will have an outdoor graduation with graduates, their parents, and participating staff in-person. All attendees must be masked with adults seated six feet apart and students seated three feet apart from one another.

Lag B’omer
  • Middle School will go to the park for Lag B'omer. Middle school students will spend the day with their grades. They will be masked and practice distancing and hygiene measures. Lower school will remain at Senesh and use all of our outdoor space. More details coming soon!

Kindergarten through Third Grade
  • Students will be able to sing tefilot (morning prayers) in grades K-3 while wearing masks as they remain seated six feet apart.

Updated Travel Guidelines
  • Domestic travelers who are asymptomatic do not need to quarantine or get tested for COVID.
  • International travelers are still required to quarantine for 10 days and test on day six prior to a return to school.

In anticipation of NYCDOHMH adopting the remainder of the guidelines, including a change to require 3 feet distancing between students, we want to share changes coming in the weeks ahead:

Middle School
  • The Middle school hybrid program will switch to full time in-person learning Monday through-Friday: Start Date is Monday, May 10.
  • We will switch from three pods to two pods; allowing 3 foot distance between students. 
  • Snack and lunch will be held outdoors or using 6-foot distancing indoors.
  • Distances between adults and from adults to students will remain at six feet.
  • Full time remote students can continue the remote option.
  • In the next few weeks we will prepare schedules, revamp teaching plans from remote to in-person, and receive 50 new individual desks to make this change possible.

Fourth Grade 
  • We will switch from three pods to two pods - adding about four student desks/students to each classroom on Monday, May 10.
  • Snack and lunch will be held outdoors or using 6-foot distancing indoors.
  • Distances between adults and from adults to students will remain at six feet.
  • This change, aligned with new guidelines, allows middle school to have enough classrooms to return to in-person learning.

To Mitigate Transmission:
We will continue having student pods, mandate mask wearing, open classroom windows (and use air purifiers in windowless rooms), maintain staggered arrival and dismissal times, practice hand hygiene, conduct daily screening and weekly school testing, and monitor school, city, and state covid positivity rates.

We are excited about these new changes and for a strong and healthy end to the school year. 

Best wishes,
Nicole Nash
Head of School