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GMLS Reopening Handbook

San Diego Jewish Academy K-12

Virtual Learning & Campus Reopening Handbook

Teaching and Welcoming Your Children with Care




Dear Families,

We miss seeing you and hope that you are having a safe summer with your loved ones. As we look towards the coming weeks, there is still much uncertainty in terms of our ability to return to campus and the procedures that will be recommended going forward by authorities. Based on state mandates, our campus will be allowed to open to students once San Diego County is removed from the California COVID-19 Monitoring list for 14 consecutive days (or if the County of San Diego were to issue a waiver for our school). We will keep you informed regarding when the reopening may occur.

In anticipation of our opening, we are pleased to share our current draft of this handbook with you. Section 1 covers the virtual learning program for GMLS. Section 2 covers our campus reopening plan for both GMLS and MUS. All of these guidelines and mandates continue to evolve, and we will update our plan and you accordingly.

We are all responsible for the health of ourselves, our families, and each other. As part of our wonderful community, we can all take steps-many of which you are familiar with by now-to create a safe and healthy environment for our children.

Whether we are learning virtually or on campus, we will continue to deliver meaningful, inspiring educational and community experiences.


Wishing you good health,

Zvi Weiss

Head of School

Click here for a downloadable version of this document.


SECTION 1: GMLS Virtual Learning

Guiding Principles 

As an elementary division, we serve children with a wide range of ages. Therefore, the virtual classroom experience, the expectations, and the schedule will look different in kindergarten than it does in fifth grade. Further, knowing that all children are unique in their learning needs and adaptation to virtual learning and digital tools, our faculty will work diligently to personalize the virtual experience so that each child feels supported and successful.

Children with identified learning and/or social-emotional differences will continue to receive their interventions and accommodations by qualified staff to help them meet their goals. This includes the continuation of Learning Center and guidance services. Additionally, while teachers are designing their plans to enable your child to be as independent as possible during virtual learning, we also recognize that K-5 students will still need regular adult assistance. We are here to support you as a partner so that you can best support your child.

Your child’s social-emotional well-being is of the utmost importance. Faculty will work thoughtfully and with great intentionality to build kehilah (community) and to support children’s sense of belonging and engagement.

The Logistics

Weekly Schedule:

  • Every Sunday, parents and students will receive an email notification from our learning management system, Canvas. Upon logging into Canvas, parents and students will be able to view a week-at-a-glance schedule which will include dates, times and links for all Zoom sessions, as well as a list of special materials that you will need to collect in advance.
  • Schedules, lessons, and learning objectives will be closely aligned between all classes at a grade level.

Daily Schedule:

  • The virtual school day starts at 8:30am and ends at 2:45pm.
  • In Canvas, parents and students will be able to view more detailed daily schedules that will include instructions for lessons, a list of materials and links to all resources and apps that the students will use.
  • Students will receive a mix of both synchronous and asynchronous instruction daily in both general studies, Jewish Studies and Hebrew.
  • Live Zoom sessions will range in length from 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the nature of the lesson, the activities and the needs and ages of the students.
  • Students will attend specials classes (PE, music, art and science)
  • In addition to whole group and small group instruction, all teachers will hold office hours each week to provide one-on-one assistance to students and to conduct parent meetings.
  • Please see the sample daily schedule below. Note that the schedule is a SAMPLE ONLY to give you an idea of the flow of the day. Specific class schedules are still in development.

    Preparing for the first day: 

    • Should it be determined that school will open on August 25th with virtual learning, we will arrange times for parents to come to campus to pick up their child’s school-owned device (K-2 will use an iPad; 3-5 will use a Chromebook) and any other books and materials that are needed.
    • Any school supplies that were pre-ordered last spring will also be handed out to parents at the time that devices and books are distributed.
    • Parents will receive training on accessing their child’s online Canvas course and a “soft launch” will be organized (in which we ask all students to log on for a class meeting), so that we can ensure that all systems are working properly on August 25th.

    Sample Virtual Learning Daily Schedule






    This handbook covers the selected information about SDJA K-12 preparation and guidelines for being on campus:

    1. Prepared to Open
    2. Schedule and Classes
    3. Food Services and Recess
    4. Emocha App Daily Health Screening and Contingencies
    5. Drop-off and Pickup
    6. Face Coverings
    7. Handwashing
    8. Physical Distancing
    9. Ongoing Cleaning
    10. If a Family or Teacher Tests Positive
    11. Parents on Campus
    12. Social and Emotional Needs

    As a reminder, this information continues to develop and we will update you accordingly.

    1. Prepared to Open 

    Once San Diego County remains off of the California COVID-19 Monitoring list for 14 consecutive days (or if the County of San Diego were to issue a waiver for our school), we have the option to return to on-campus learning.

    As we prepare our campus, we rely on guidance from the following sources:

    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    • County of San Diego Health and Human Services
    • California Department of Social Services
    • California Department of Education
    • California Department of Public Health
    • American Academy of Pediatrics
    • Consultation with experts in relevant medical fields
    • SDJA Re-Opening Task Force
    • SDJA Board of Directors, Senior Leadership Team

      We are preparing all classes by modifying our ventilation system to maximize outside air flow, installing germicidal UV-C lamps in our HVAC ducting, significantly reducing the burden of bacteria and viruses within the air supply of all classrooms. We are also installing new operable windows and window screens, and adding fans in classrooms to maximize fresh, circulating air. This is in addition to deep cleaning carpets and tiles, and sanitizing classroom furniture, restrooms, door handles, and other areas of campus using products that are safe and are approved for use against SARS- CoV-2.

      2. Schedule and Classes

      In GMLS, students will not rotate between classrooms; rather, music and science teachers will come to the children’s classrooms, art will be in an outdoor classroom, and PE will be outdoors on the grass field and playground. Each classroom will be considered a “stable cohort” and those students will not mix with other class cohorts during the school day. We also are minimizing and, when possible, eliminating sharing of classroom supplies and materials.

      In MUS, students will rotate classrooms based on their individual academic program while following all physical distancing guidelines, discussed more in section 8 below.

      We may be able to continue some extracurricular programs with modifications and we will closely evaluate and restructure activities as needed to adhere to all guidelines regarding physical distancing.

      3. Food Services and Recess

      Our plan at this time is to have students bring their own lunches when first returning to campus. In GMLS, staggered lunch times will reduce the number of students at lunch time and fewer students will be seated at lunch tables to maintain social distance. Hand sanitizer stations will be located near the lunch tables to support personal hygiene. Recess will consist of each grade level in a designated area at specific times.

      In MUS, lunch break is designed with personal-distanced zones in the Upper School quad area.

      4. Emocha App Daily Health Screening and Contingencies

      The Emocha app (emocha.com) is our platform for daily home health screening and monitoring. In the coming weeks you will receive information to download and to register for it, per the instructions we will provide separately. Through emocha, you will complete a brief temperature report and health questionnaire each morning before drop-off. Emocha’s green badge means your child can come to school that day; a yellow badge means you must stay home. A grey badge means you have not checked in. Staff and students will also undergo a visual health check and touch- free temperature check when arriving on campus. No one with any Covid-19 symptoms will be permitted on campus. Students whose temperature reading exceeds 100 degrees will not be allowed on campus. If someone exhibits symptoms during the day, we have a separate area for them to wait to be picked up.

      5. Drop-off and Pickup 

      In coordination with SDJA Director of Security Ken Freshwater and our Operations staff, we are developing drop-off and pick-up procedures that include clearly marked entry lanes for temperature checks. Our plan at this time is that during drop-off, designated staff will check-in students as they arrive and will conduct mandatory hand sanitizing. You will easily see staff at campus entrances. Drivers must remain in their vehicles at all times while dropping off and picking up students.

      Please note that GMLS students must remain at their vehicle until their temperature is taken. The driver is not to leave until the student has been cleared to enter campus. For pickup, GMLS will use a new app called “PikMyKid” so that students can remain in their classrooms until their driver has arrived. More information and training for parents on PikMyKid will be coming prior to the start of school.

      6. Face Coverings

      Students in K-12 are required to wear face masks throughout the day (except when eating and during physical education classes). All staff and faculty will be wearing face masks. Acceptable masks are N95 medical masks and cloth masks (masks that have an exhaust filter are prohibited). SDJA has masks (branded with our Lion) that you can request. If you opt for a reusable cloth mask, note they need to be washed daily before being reworn. If a student has an exemption from wearing a mask (e.g. due to health issues associated with wearing a mask) a plastic face shield with drapes will be required. California Department of Public Health regarding face coverings can be found here.

      7. Handwashing

      Teachers will instill good habits by monitoring student handwashing, doing it themselves, and talking about its importance. Twenty-second hand washing will be required of students before meals, after restroom use, and at regular intervals throughout the day. Hand sanitizing will occur before entering any classroom, while inside a classroom, and before leaving the classroom for any reason. In addition, hand sanitizer will be available and utilized at various locations around campus.

      8. Physical Distancing

      We are implementing a number of measures as we work to maintain a six-foot distance between K-12 students and faculty on campus. Classrooms will be configured to adhere to this physical distance policy. Desks, for example, will be spaced at least six feet apart and all classroom furniture will be set up to ensure this distance. We are designing proper walkways throughout campus and have enough open space for students and teachers to move around comfortability. Signs and floor markers will help students remember to effectively maintain that distance. Some larger spaces, as well as outdoor areas, also are being used as classrooms to facilitate physical distancing. All teachers, in every class, will clearly articulate the rules to students on day 1 of on-campus operations, and will continue to remind and reinforce.

      9. Ongoing Cleaning

      All facilities—such as classrooms, door handles, and bathrooms—will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day and undergo more intense disinfection after school hours. A more detailed cleaning and disinfecting daily schedule will be developed prior to campus reopening.

      10. If a Family or Teacher Tests Positive or Shows Symptoms at School

      Please note that local authorities and our medical consultants continue to update and refine these guidelines. We will update you as these guidelines develop. Here is what we know at this time:

      SDJA will not allow sick staff members and students to return to campus until they have met county and CDC criteria to discontinue home isolation. This includes three consecutive days without a fever without the use of fever-reducing medication and ten days since symptoms first appeared.  The school is utilizing San Diego County’s Fever/COVID-19 Symptom Decision Tree to guide appropriate action. In consultation with our county health department and other medical advisors, we are determining at what point a class or the entire school needs to close after a person or people test positive, and the length of closure necessary.

      If you or your child(ren) know that you came in close contact (within 6 ft for a period of 15 minutes or more) with a person with COVID-19, your student should stay home and quarantine for a period of 14 days from last exposure. SDJA is well equipped to toggle between on-campus and remote learning for any individual student. An absence of this type will not count towards truancy.

      The school has designated and installed multiple, discrete isolation spaces on campus for anyone who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms.  The School Nurse, Director, Security & Safety, and Director, Facilities are responsible for these areas.

      Anyone exhibiting a fever of 100 degrees or higher, a cough or other COVID-19 symptoms will be required to put on a face covering if they are not already wearing one (e.g. during meals or physical education).  Individuals who display COVID-like symptoms on campus will be taken to an isolated in a special waiting area where they will be out of view of the school community, and a parent/emergency contact will be contacted to arrange for safe transport home, or to a healthcare facility.  A parent or guardian picking up a student must wait in their vehicle during the curbside pick-up process.  Employees and students who are able to drive themselves can leave campus on their own accord to go home or to a healthcare facility as soon as is practicable, or will wait in the isolated waiting area until they are escorted and picked up curbside by a designated emergency contact.

      The school will recommend to anyone who screens with symptoms, fever, or becomes sick to get a COVID-19 test with their healthcare provider or at a community testing site.  Site options will be provided. The identities of individuals who are perceived to be a COVID-19 risk, or who are diagnosed, will be preserved within the parameters of FERPA and state laws regarding privacy.

      In cases of serious injury or illness, 9-1-1 will be contacted without delay.  If COVID-19 symptoms become severe, including persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, or bluish lips or face, parents will be contacted and medical attention sought based on the guidance found on the CDC’s webpage.

      Local health officials will be notified immediately by the School Nurse of any positive case of COVID-19, and exposed staff and families as relevant while maintaining confidentiality as required by state and federal laws per guidance available here.

      If a student, teacher, or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, or if there is an outbreak at the school, the School Nurse, COO/CFO, Director, Security & Safety, Facilities Director, Human Resources Director, and Head of School (collectively known as our COVID-19 Team) will be responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns.  The team will follow the guidance in the CDPH Framework for K-12 Schools, as well as CDPH guidelines, Responding to COVID-19 in the Workplace, which contains detailed recommendations for establishing a plan to identify cases, communicating with workers and other exposed persons, and conducting and assisting with contact tracing.

      The COVID-19 Team will immediately  coordinate gathering and review of information, communications with others, and all appropriate and necessary investigation to support contact tracing and compilation of a list of potentially exposed individuals.

      The COVID-19 Liaison (School Nurse), and as needed other members of the COVID-19 Team, will identify individuals who have been in close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more in an indoor environment) of an infected person and take steps to isolate the COVID-19 positive person or people and close contacts.  All members of the team may be called upon to assist with contact tracing, under the guidance of the School Nurse.

      The School Nurse will document and track incidents of possible exposure and notify local health officials, staff, and families immediately of any exposure to a positive case of COVID-19 at school while maintaining confidentiality, as required under FERPA and state law related to privacy of educational records.

      Areas used by any individual suspected of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 will be closed off and will not be used before cleaning and disinfection.  To reduce risk of exposure, staff will wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfection. If it is not possible to wait 24 hours, staff will wait as long as practicable.  Staff will utilize a safe and correct application of disinfectants using personal protective equipment and ventilation recommended for cleaning.  Disinfectant products will be kept away from students.

      In the event of COVID-19 illness and exposures will be investigated by the COVID-19 Team to determine if any work-related factors could have contributed to risk of infection. Protocols will be updated as needed to prevent further cases. All students who are not able to be physically on campus, including students with disabilities, will have access to SDJA’s virtual learning program.

      Students may not come onto campus if they or anyone in their household exhibits any of the COVID-19 symptoms below:

      • Fever (Temperature of 100F or above)
      • Cough
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      • Chills
      • Repeated shaking with chills
      • Fatigue
      • Muscle pain
      • Headache
      • Sore throat
      • Congestion or runny nose
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Diarrhea
      • Loss of taste and/or smell

      **To help understand how to correctly count the days and what actions to take in each scenario, you can reference the CDC’s webpage on quarantining**.

      11. Parents on Campus

      Initially, visitors to campus will be extremely limited. At some point, we would like to have parents have greater access to campus and will be monitoring safety regulations in order to welcome you back to the school.

      12. Social and Emotional Needs

      As excited as students are to return to campus in some form, we know there may be social-emotional challenges, fears, and other issues for SDJA to help students work through. Our faculty is trained and ready to support students and parents at this critical time. We’ve invested heavily to support our children’s social-emotional well-being this year. To better serve our growing student body, a new mental health professional, Danielle Jurow, will work in our MUS now. Our existing school counselor, Sarah Greenstein, who also is a licensed mental health professional, will focus exclusively on our GMLS students. Teachers will also continuously focus on community building activities, with special attention to the unique transition students will be experiencing coming back to school virtually, as well as readjusting to campus after many months when it is safe to do so.

      Thank you all for your help and support as we navigate this year together. We will all be healthier by following these guidelines, by helping each other, and by communicating effectively. We look forward to a wonderful school year with your family.