Dear Yavneh Community,
I hope this email finds you well and that you and your family have been able to relax and recharge during this winter break. We have all been alarmed by the rising number of COVID-19 cases due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. While we are still learning about this variant, we know that it is highly transmissible and could substantially impact our community. In an effort to keep our students, faculty and families safe during this surge, Yavneh’s COVID Health and Safety Task Force met this week to discuss our path forward. Our plan is to continue running an effective, in-person academic program while maintaining a healthy learning environment. To help us reach this goal, we are introducing new plans to keep our community safe.
Testing Before Return to School: Because many people are either asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms while they are unknowingly contagious, regular testing is essential during this surge. Catching asymptomatic cases is the best way to help prevent spread in our community and ensure that we can keep students in the classroom. We are asking that everyone make their best attempt to take an antigen or PCR test before returning to campus on January 4th. While we know that even at-home kits can be hard to access right now, we ask that you reach out to each other to help find tests and or location sites. We will be collecting testing results in the car line when you drop your children off at school on Tuesday.
Weekly Testing: Beginning on January 4th, all students, faculty, and administration will be required to participate in weekly PCR testing. Your child(ren) were sent home with test kits before winter break that should be returned at drop off on January 4th. Extra test kits will be available at drop-off. If you don’t test through us, please submit the results by January 4th to [email protected].
Temperature Checks: As an additional safeguard, we will reintroduce temperature checks at drop-off.
Caring for our Community: If your child has any symptoms of COVID-19 they are required to stay home until the symptoms have resolved and they have a negative PCR test or a note from their physician. Symptoms of COVID-19 may include runny nose, sore throat, fever, muscle soreness, fatigue, sneezing, coughing, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste. Please help keep our community safe by keeping your children home with even the slightest of symptoms. Additionally, children with household members who have tested positive for COVID-19 are required to stay home from school and provide a negative PCR test. As a reminder, we are following the CDC recommendations for international travel. Any unvaccinated student who traveled outside of the United States over vacation needs to self-quarantine for 7 days and get a PCR test 3-5 days after returning.
Superheroes Wear Great Masks: The emerging guidance and recommendations on masks are suggesting that only wearing cloth masks is not as effective against the new variant. The strongest protection against the variant are multi-layer disposable masks like an N95, KN95, or KF94 that fit snugly across the nose and mouth without gaps or falling below the nose. If those are not available to you, we strongly recommend wearing disposable masks with a cloth mask as a second layer on top.
Get Vaccinated: Vaccinated individuals, including children, appear to be less likely to contract and spread the virus. We strongly encourage families to get your students vaccinated if you have not done so already.
Keeping Current with the Latest Guidance: As of last night, the County of Santa Clara was awaiting updated guidance from the California Department of Public Health before updating local guidance for isolation and quarantine. It is not yet certain if or how these changes will impact educational settings. We will continue to follow the guidance and update the community as we become aware of changes impacting our school.
On a personal note, I will be off-site for at least part of next week. Unfortunately, I tested positive for COVID-19 over the winter break. Thankfully, the only symptoms that I have experienced so far are a runny nose and fatigue. Although I was initially asymptomatic, when a close family member tested positive, I also got tested. I share this because I think now more than ever it underscores the importance of being aware of our contacts, testing and following safety protocols.
Our school has been able to provide our students with a strong sense of community and an excellent educational program over the past 20 months. This is due in no small part to the support of our families, the commitment of our teachers and faculty, and ultimately our robust safety program. While the pandemic is ever changing, our Yavneh community is strong. We will continue to make adjustments to maintain and nurture our learning community while keeping everyone safe. With your partnership, we will Blaze through this surge together.
Wishing all of our community a happy, healthy 2022 and a Shabbat Shalom!