Summer reminds me of camp – both as a camper and as a counselor. Jewish summer camps were where I felt at home. I loved eating in the hader ochel, playing gaga, having “deep” conversations with my bunkmates at night, and joyfully praying outside. In high school and college, I worked at Camp Tova at the JCC in Palo Alto – many of my fellow counselors have become life-long friends and I’ve even been married to one of them for 26 years.
Lately, I have found myself humming one of my favorite camp songs, The Circle Game which tells the story of a child growing up. In the chorus, we are told, “…you can’t return you can only look behind from where you came and go round and round and round in the circle game.” I know that right now, so many of us wish we could return to “from where we came,” but we must work together to accept where we are and thoughtfully and safely move forward together.
In preparation for our Town Hall meeting last night, I reviewed all of the communication that we’ve sent to families about reopening school next month. As the guidelines from the county and state have changed and the new cases have increased, our path has been more circular than linear. I know that uncertainty is challenging and uncomfortable. From the quick poll during the Town Hall, I know that 52% of you are either unsure or not willing to send your child to campus for in-person learning. And from the large turnout, over 100 screens, I know that you are deeply invested in your child’s education.
So what can we share?
- Next week, you’ll be receiving an email with your log-in credentials for Gradelink. Once you log in, you’ll be directed to complete the necessary school forms, update your contact information, and review the updated parent handbook.
- Faculty are already preparing for multiple models of education and will begin orientation on August 12th.
- We are working toward offering a virtual learning option for all students, regardless of which educational model we choose.
- Family conferences will be virtual this year and will be on August 20th and 21st. The links to sign up will be emailed on August 6th.
- All back-to-school meetings and orientations will be on Zoom.
- The first day of school will be on August 25th.
- We will continue to make our decisions based on these Guiding Principles.
- We will publish a Q and A based on the Town Hall questions and share that next week.
- We will share the next iteration of our reopening plan before the end of July.
In all times, but especially in difficult times, it’s essential to find opportunities to feel gratitude and joy. And just as the song says, while we can’t return to from where we came, I know that we will move forward stronger together. As I look back on my four years at Yavneh and forward to our future, I feel blessed and grateful to be part of such a caring, engaged, and thoughtful community.