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Adam Eilath

Dear Wornick Families,

As we shared with you earlier this week, Wornick recently received a waiver from San Mateo County allowing our school to reopen for in person learning for TK-6th grade students starting on September 14th. Over the past few months, we have continued to develop and revise our reopening plans in accordance with changing health conditions, evolving regulations, environmental factors, and educational best practices. We are proud of the remote learning program we have delivered and are encouraged by the positive experiences our students, teachers and families have had with our educational program thus far.

Receiving the waiver is not the only factor in our decision to bring back students. We applied for a waiver because we believed that our health and safety plan was strong and that our school size, relative to larger school districts, would benefit from the flexibility of being able to reopen on our own schedule. After significant discussion, planning, and committee work, we have decided to begin phasing our students in for in person instruction on September 14th. In reaching this decision, we considered the following factors:

Guiding Factors

We want to make sure we are bringing our students back in a thoughtful and measured manner. We also want to be realistic about the scale of adjustments to in person learning that we can execute in an effective and educationally beneficial manner. Therefore, the next phase of our plan is to bring back our entire TK-Kindergarten program for a full day of in person instruction beginning on September 14th. In person instruction for our students will combine outdoor instruction with indoor instruction in well ventilated spaces in accordance with our health and safety protocols. During our first two weeks of in person instruction we will closely monitor our:

  • Health and Safety Protocols to ensure we are implementing them in the most effective and comprehensive manner
  • Hybrid Learning Program to ensure that students at home are able to learn effectively and meaningfully alongside students in the classroom

Two weeks after our TK-Kindergarten students return, we plan to bring our 1st grade students back to campus on September 29th. As we bring our youngest students to campus we will continue to evaluate our in person learning measures and fine tune our hybrid learning. If conditions allow, we will continue to phase in older students. We will provide another update on a timeline for grades 2 through 6 by September 25th.

To assist our school in planning for in person learning, we need all families with students in TK-1st grade to complete the survey informing us whether you plan to send your students to school for in person instruction. TK/Kinder/1st grade parents will be required to attend a parent orientation on September 10th at 8pm to review all of the requirements to return to in person learning.

For all families, it is important to note:

  • We cannot guarantee that there will be no cases of COVID-19 in our community. What we are embarking upon is an effort to provide in person instruction in a manner that minimizes risk of transmission. We are relying upon the diligence of all of our families to adhere to our plan and county requirements to assist in minimizing risk.
  • The waiver process does not apply to 7th and 8th grade. Under the new color-coded tier system set forth by the Governor on August 28th, San Mateo County is in the "purple" tier. To open without a waiver or for 7th and 8th grade, San Mateo County has to be in the lower "red" tier for 14 days.
  • If air quality is poor, we may have to transition to remote learning if we are unable to use outdoor spaces or leave windows open.
  • There may be other triggers that require us to return to remote learning, such as exposure to COVID-19, a confirmed case, or human resource/operational requirements.

Scheduling adjustments:

  • For this initial phase, drop off times will be assigned and will be between 8-8:30am. Pickup times will be assigned and will be between 2:45 and 3:15pm on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday; 12-12:30pm on Wednesday, and 2:15-2:45 on Friday. When we phase in more grades, we anticipate using the full hour of pick up that we originally shared in our reopening plan (8:00-9:00am and 2:45-3:45pm).
  • To accommodate the pick up times on Fridays, starting September 25th, Kabbalat Shabbat will be at 3:30pm. Please note there will be no Kabbalat Shabbat on September 18th for Erev Rosh Hashanah.

In writing this note to you all, I'm aware of the diverse viewpoints, desires, needs, and perspectives that exist in our community. In being a community day school, we balance your voices that you have shared with us throughout the summer in addition to the many considerations we included in moving ahead with our reopening plan. I want to offer the words of Rabbi Donniel Hartman on the notion of pluralism to help frame the communal considerations we continue to take into account in reopening our school:

A community's ability to live with difference is enhanced in direct proportion to the rich variety of ways in which it is able to assess diversity. Without some measure of pluralism, difference is always classified as someone being right and someone wrong. It requires an act of significant self-restraint, humility and largesse of spirit to declare that one thinks the other opinion to be wrong, yet nevertheless, to fight for its right to not merely exist, but to grow and influence others.

I share these words to remind us of the remarkable uniqueness that exists at our school and of our power to respect the different choices and values of our community members. We know that some families would like us to pursue a slower path to reentry and some would like us to phase our students in quicker. Our school holds these perspectives alongside our numerous other health and safety, operational and educational considerations in reopening.

We thank you for the trust you have placed in us and for your continued partnership,