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Communications

Adam Eilath

Dear Wornick Community,

Over the past few weeks and especially the last few days, our leadership team has been meeting constantly to prepare and adapt to the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. We have spent hours pouring through the recommendations from the San Mateo County Department of Health, the San Mateo County Department of Education, and the Center for Disease Control. We have also spent hours on conference calls with county officials, Jewish Day School administrators from across the nation, as well as heads of school from across California. We have also been reading the dozens of emails that parents have sent to us and they have sat heavily in our hearts as we have struggled with the difficult decision of how to respond to this quickly developing crisis.

After careful thought and consideration, we have made the difficult decision to transition to remote learning starting Friday, March 13th. Starting on Friday March 13th, the Wornick building will be closed to all students, parents and outside visitors. Professional Community Members will be on campus Friday, March 13th and Monday, March 16th to complete preparations for remote learning. Depending on their grade, students will either go home tomorrow with recommended homework or begin to see all of their work posted on Google Classroom or Veracross. Currently, we plan to have remote learning in place from Wednesday, March 18 through Wednesday, March 25 (Conferences are March 26 and 27), with the possibility of extending the building closure through Passover Break, should that be necessary.

To be clear, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our student, parent, or professional community. 

There were a number of factors that influenced our decision to transition to remote learning starting Friday:

  • As a community institution, we err on the side of caution and prefer to be proactive and deliberate in planning for the health of our families, teachers, and the wider community. In the Jewish tradition there is a clear voice encouraging proactive measures to protect health. The Shulkhan Arukh writes, "When there is a plague in a city, one should leave at the beginning of a plague and not at the end of a plague." We understand that to some, this move may seem preemptive. However, we feel strongly that during times such as these, it is better to make the choice that is in the best interest of our children and our community.
  • Yesterday, the San Mateo County Public Health Officer said that there is "evidence of widespread community transmission" in our county.
  • We have an obligation to do our part to slow down the spread of this virus to protect the elderly and vulnerable in our society and world. Social distancing appears to be the consistent thread in all communications and recommendations from relevant health experts.
  • Dozens of independent schools on the Peninsula announced their closures and transitions to distance learning today. The Archdiocese of San Francisco also closed all 90 of its schools in San Mateo, San Francisco, and Marin counties. This confirmed our belief that our school plays a vital role in helping to slow the spread of this virus.
  • The lack of consistent and widespread testing makes it unlikely, if not impossible, for a child to qualify for a test and be diagnosed in the near term.

Going Forward
Tomorrow, Wornick will be open for the full day, including Gesher until 6pm. Lower school teachers are preparing materials for students to take home with them that they can work on until remote learning begins on Wednesday, March 18. In the older grades, assignments will be posted on Google Classroom or Veracross.

All events in March have either been cancelled or postponed. Athletics are cancelled for the time being. All afterschool enrichment will be rescheduled if possible. The Community Grand Event with Mark Spitz will not take place on March 22, and we will be in touch as soon as we have a new date.

We will also be in touch with details of how we will hold Conferences, which are currently scheduled for March 26 and 27.

Technology Needs
Delivery of much of the remote learning will require a device at home. Different grades will have different needs. Please check the grade level for your child carefully to understand their need and what may be available should you need to borrow a device. 

  • Kindergarten  They will need a device at home. It can be an iPad or other type of tablet.
  • Grades 1-2  Learning for children in these grades will require the use of iPads. 
  • Grades 3-5  Children in these grades will use Chromebooks. 
  • Middle School  Middle schoolers will use their school issued devices.

If you do not have the type of device required for your child at home, you may borrow a device from school. In order to do so, please fill out this form and return it to tech@wornickjds.org or to the office so that your child can bring home a device with them tomorrow. Given the time frame, we will need you to return the form before the end of school tomorrow in order to release a device to them. If you are unable to do so, staff will be on campus Friday, should it be necessary for you to turn in your form and pick up your device. 

We are concerned about the impact that this change will bring to our families, students, and the larger community. We want to share with you that all of the educators in our building chose this career because of how deeply we believe in educating the next generation of students. Over the next two weeks we will miss their voices in the hallway, their curious minds and the sense of community, belonging, and acceptance that fills our school each day. We are so grateful to each of you for all you will do in the coming weeks to ensure that our students will continue to grow, question, learn, and thrive.

L'shalom VeBriyut,
Adam Eilath