Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
- Sof Shavua Weekly Emails
- 3/23/2020 - Community Update
- 3/23/2020 - 12th Grade Poland and Israel Trip
- 3/20/2020 - Distance Learning Counts!
- 3/17/2020 - Event Updates and Resources
- 3/13/2020 - School Closure and Distance Learning Plan
- 3/12/2020 - Coronavirus Update
FJA’s Spring Play, Brighton Beach Memoirs, will be postponed until Fall 2020.
ACT exams have been rescheduled until June 14.
We expect to hear from the College Board about AP Exams at the end of this week.
The Honors Ceremony
Evening of the Arts
College Representative Visits
Multi grade US Government trip to Washington DC
9th grade trip to Montana (Northern Cheyenne Reservation and Yellowstone)
12th grade trip to Poland and Israel
Dear FJA Families,
Fulfilling our educational mission to “inspire students to think critically, creatively and compassionately and to dedicate themselves to Jewish tradition, peoplehood and the state of Israel,” is our existential essence, surpassed as a priority only by the health and wellbeing of our community. For this reason we will be closed until Monday, April 20, the day after our scheduled Passover break.
Prior to Governor Whitmer’s announcement last evening, we were prepared to implement closure plans next week to ensure the containment of the virus and promote health in our community. Due to our preparation, we are ready to move forward with our “distance learning” program. Teachers will be training and developing lessons appropriate for distance learning on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
We will begin distance learning on Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20. After these two days, we will conduct classes Mondays - Thursdays. There will be no “live” classes on Fridays. You can find the schedule for live classes below. In addition to live classes, teachers will be sharing a variety of assignments and assessments as well as recorded video lessons. Please discuss with your student the best ways, habits, and routines to make it possible for them to attend their live classes. Students have received all of this information from Mr. Gawel through Schoology. If there are technical questions, please direct them to Mr. Bourdeau and/or Ms. Gustafson at: firstname.lastname@example.org. If there are questions about classes, please contact faculty directly.
We know that, due to the sudden closing, students may need to come to FJA to get books and materials from their lockers. They may come to school on Monday, March 16 between 10:30 am and 12:30 pm ONLY. They have been directed to come in, get their materials, and leave promptly without socializing or congregating.
Beginning today, and over the weekend, the housekeeping staff have been instructed to perform an in-depth cleaning of the school as a precautionary measure. This will involve the use of a diluted bleach & water solution and they will be wiping down chairs, tables, desks, doors, fixtures, cabinets and other items.
You may have questions about the health update we sent last evening. Please know that the closure of school today was a precautionary measure due to a possible, but unconfirmed case, of an individual who had no direct contact with the illness. We are in touch with the Oakland County Health Department and will be in touch with you if we have additional information.
We were on a conference call this morning with the Oakland County Executive, David Coulter, and the Oakland County Health Department. They reiterated that while COVID-19 is new, the response that the community is taking to the virus is not new. They urged us to convey to our communities that the best approach is to maintain, and help others maintain, calm and provide support while continuing to take preventative measures. If you have questions, please reach out to your personal medical professional, the Oakland County Communicable Disease Division at 248-858-1286, or the Oakland County Nurse on Call at 1800-848-5533.
FJA Distance Learning Schedule
- Teachers will be “live” during the times that their classes meet. Students will receive links to these “live” classes in the Schoology group for each of their classes.
- The “live” online meeting schedule is shown below. This will be on an abbreviated schedule taking into consideration student and teacher schedules as well as the limitations web conferencing poses on pedagogy and instruction.
- Teachers may choose to hold additional sessions for students outside of these scheduled times.
- Teachers will also be creating archived lessons that can be viewed at any time.
- We recognize that the situation we find ourselves in will be unpredictable at times, and we will work through issues and challenges as they arise.
- Please check in with your student and be in touch with us with any concerns. Teachers will be monitoring student engagement and will reach out to students, parents, and administration regarding students who are not utilizing live sessions, or not keeping up with their work.
Dear FJA Families,
The news and information about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our region is quickly evolving, and we are monitoring the situation closely. Last night, Governor Whitmer encouraged several measures including limiting large gatherings and practicing good hygiene to mitigate the spread of the virus. We are taking measures to comply with her recommendations and have plans in place for a variety of scenarios. We will continue to update you about any additional changes as soon as possible. Our priority, as always, is the health and safety of our students and staff. If you are keeping your student out of school for any health reason related to COVID-19, you must contact Cindy Baker 248-592-5263 email@example.com or Shana Kantor 248-671-3226 firstname.lastname@example.org for a confidential discussion.
As this situation evolves, we will continue to track all updates and consult with medical and public health experts, including information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and the Oakland County Health Department.
Mitigating the Spread of COVID-19
- Any student who has had symptoms potentially indicative of COVID-19 (fever, cough, and shortness of breath), needs to be symptom-free and submit a doctor’s note before returning to school. Students staying home for any reason related to COVID-19 should have their parent/guardian contact Cindy Baker 248-592-5263 email@example.com or Shana Kantor 248-671-3226 firstname.lastname@example.org. Absences will be excused.
- In the event that we suspend in-person learning, we have developed a plan for distance learning that will allow teachers to deliver virtual lessons, discussions, and assessments in ways that are both educationally sound and realistically flexible. Should the situation warrant, students will be able to continue their learning through systems that they use daily, including Google and Schoology, on their Macbook laptops. Students should bring their laptops home daily to be prepared for distance learning with short notice.
- In the case that we have distance learning, college counseling, learning support services, and the business office are all prepared to work and be in contact remotely.
- We have increased cleaning frequency in high traffic areas. There are hand sanitizers for classrooms and we are encouraging students to wash their hands often.
- We are suspending school tours and shadow days for prospective students until further notice.
- We are limiting visitors to the school and moving meetings, when possible, to virtual meetings and calls. College-aged alumni have been asked to stay in touch remotely, rather than coming to visit.
- Any visitors, including parents, entering the building are now required to wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer.
- Events for large groups of people will be canceled or moved to phone and virtual meetings. Please see below for a list of upcoming events canceled, postponed, and still in place.
- Parent / Teacher conferences will be moved to phone and virtual meetings. There will be additional communication about how to set up your meetings with teachers in the next couple of days.
- Athletic competitions will continue as scheduled under the guidance of Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA). We will look to the MHSAA for ongoing guidance and connect with families if this guidance changes.
Plans for Upcoming Events and School Trips
- Town Hall will now be in smaller groups or will be canceled.
- The 12th grade Shabbaton scheduled for this coming Shabbat has been canceled.
- Sunday evening’s Esther Hawkin’s dance has been canceled and may be rescheduled at a later time.
- Parent-Teacher conferences will now be virtual and by phone.
- Programs in coordination with Jewish Senior Life have been canceled for now. This includes minyan visits to JSL facilities.
- The March 23 trip to Wayne State University has been postponed until a later date.
- The 11th and 12th grade U.S. Government trip to Washington, DC has not been canceled. We expect to make a decision about this trip with the advice of the trip provider by early April.
- We are still monitoring the situation in Israel and Poland closely and are in contact with our tour providers. We will reassess the situation for our 12th grade trip by early April.
- We are in close contact with our tour provider for our Freshman Montana trip. In consultation with our provider, we will reassess the situation after the Passover break.
- There will be updates about other upcoming school-related events.
How You Can Help
- Practice preventive hygiene actions including appropriately covering coughs and sneezes and washing hands often (and for 20 seconds).
- Discuss how to slow the spread of the disease. Review the Center for Disease Control’s resources for families and individuals which is constantly being updated.
- Talk with your student about how they will handle their schoolwork if school is closed. Where will they work without distraction? What will they need from adults in order to be successful?
- If you have limited internet access at home, please reach out to Randy Gawel email@example.com to let him know.
- Talk with your student about what they are thinking and feeling. Here is a New York Times article about how to talk to teens and tweens about coronavirus.
Above all, we want to reiterate that it is both important and prudent for us as a community to maintain a calm, measured approach. Students have expressed their anxiety to faculty and to each other. Please help your student remain calm by focusing on basic needs like getting enough sleep and using proper hygiene. Encourage them to read the CDC website and other reputable resources.
While COVID-19 has been detrimental for some and burdensome for others, I am reminded that the Talmudic sage, Reish Lekish, is recorded in the Talmud saying, “Master of all realms, redeem and save, rescue and deliver Your people Israel... from all types of afflictions that suddenly come to the world. Before we cry out and You will respond. Blessed are You, who halts the plague.” (Ketubot 8b.) May God recognize our collective effort and compassionate support for each other, and bring health and healing speedily.
Thank you for your partnership in helping to keep the FJA community healthy and safe.
Rabbi Azaryah Cohen
Head of School
Local Health Hotlines:
Head of School: Rabbi Azaryah Cohen
Financial questions and health reporting: Cindy Baker, COO
Communications and health reporting: Shana Kantor, Director of Advancement
Distance Learning and Academics: Randy Gawel, Principal
IT Support for Distance Learning: Dan Bourdeau, Director of Innovation & Technology
Social and Emotional Support: Marcy Kolb, Social Worker