SDJA FAQs During COVID-19
What is the school year schedule?
Based on the government mandate, we will continue to operate remotely through the end of this school year. We are planning for several different scenarios–including remote, in-person, and a combination of both–regarding the 20/21 school year.
How does SDJA make decisions about campus openings and closings?
Since SDJA is an independent school, we make our own decisions about school openings and closings. We place the health and safety of our students as the highest priority, and our decision to reopen will be evaluated on a week-by-week basis and will be informed by the medical community, along with other relevant agencies such as the San Diego County Board of Education, statewide authorities, and other local top-tier schools.
How is learning continuing for SDJA students during the campus closure?
Our faculty and teachers are delivering a robust array of learning and community experiences through remote platforms. This includes all-class, small group, and one-on-one Zoom sessions, along with other curricula that teachers then review and offer feedback on. Our Learning Center continues to provide extra and personal support to students across grades.
How are you keeping parents informed?
We are holding meetings periodically over Zoom to update parents on any pertinent developments. We also send out emails at regularly scheduled intervals, and real time as needed, with information about SDJA and specific remote learning and community engagement opportunities.
Are parents paying tuition right now?
Since SDJA is continuing our educational curricula remotely, and since students will matriculate to their next grade level, parents are still paying tuition. Given the current economic environment, however, we are providing emergency tuition assistance to those families experiencing a financial hardship, along with flexibility in re-scheduling tuition payments . More info about financial concerns can be found here.
How are you maintaining school spirit and community?
While we can never replicate the in-person SDJA community experience, we are getting creative! We are holding Shabbat and holiday celebrations, music classes, Zumba classes, meetings with our guidance counselor and learning support services, all remotely. Our community is gaining strength from each other through these connections!
What’s the status of SDJA’s Early Childhood Center?
Our ECC faculty and teachers are offering activities and check-ins over Zoom for parents their little ones. At the same time, because we cannot deliver pre-school remotely because of the age of this cohort, SDJA has refunded ECC tuition through the end of May.
Planning for the 2020/2021 School Year
What is SDJA’s plan for the 2020/21 school year?
Assuming conditions allow and we are able to follow all state and local guidelines, SDJA is planning to resume on campus learning in the fall, although things will look different to ensure the health and safety of our community. A full return to normal on campus operations may occur gradually during the year. We also plan to do everything possible to educate any of our students that are unable to join on campus for health or other reasons, through our remote learning platform.
How is SDJA making decisions about next school year?
Our School Reopening Task Force is working diligently on a multi-faceted array of questions, possibilities and plans. We continue to make significant progress. The Task Force is developing hybrid options for educational delivery that will include both on and off campus learning, and opportunities for student engagement in athletics, arts, music, and general playtime. With this in mind, lead staff members are developing specific plans in multiple operational areas to enable social distancing, effective hygiene and sanitation programs, and monitoring the health of everyone on campus, including appropriate testing, isolation and tracing protocols, among many other important considerations. Our goal is to ensure that in any scenario, SDJA remains at the forefront of schools in San Diego when it comes to health and safety, the quality of education, and the strength of our community
Who Serves on the School Reopening Task Force?
The Task Force is comprised of our current and incoming head of school, our division heads, members of our senior leadership team, our board president, and current and past trustees who have students in all of our divisions. This team is informed by applicable governmental and health agency guidelines, discussions with scientific experts, and plans and practices being developed by other best-in-class schools and organizations.
The duration and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic remains uncertain, while governments, agencies and industry are all moving to mitigate the health and economic impacts on U.S. citizens. This includes such things as a multi-trillion dollar economic stimulus and relief package, delayed income tax filing and payment deadlines, expanded unemployment benefits, and deferment of mortgage and other recurring payments.
During the period of our campus closure, San Diego Jewish Academy continues to employ and pay its teachers and support staff as they continue to deliver the highest quality educational experience possible through our remote learning platform. We seek to fulfill our mission of Academic Excellence, Social Responsibility and Active Jewish Living in these challenging times, and will remain at the forefront of Early Childhood Center / K-12 schools in doing so. Moreover, we want to ensure that we retain our excellent staff so that we are well positioned when in-person learning and regular school operations can resume.
In the context of this uncertain and unfolding situation, San Diego Jewish Academy is providing answers to frequently asked questions related to financial concerns. This FAQ will be continuously evaluated, updated and republished in the weeks ahead.
Has SDJA received any third-party funding that could help support the school and/or families during the economic downturn? If so, how will this funding be used?
Yes, SDJA applied for and received loan funding through the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in April 2020. The funds have enabled SDJA to maintain full employment of SDJA personnel, while offsetting lost revenues and offering emergency tuition assistance to families experiencing a significant economic hardship. Maintaining full employment of SDJA personnel is critical so that we will be able to re-open the campus as soon as allowed. The PPP loan funds will be converted to a grant and do not need to be repaid if SDJA complies with various restrictions regarding how funds are used.
I have a student in grades K-12. Will there be a reduction in my tuition due to the change in school operation?
There will not be a reduction in tuition for K-12 students. SDJA is committed to ensuring that all students move on to the next grade level without interruption. We need to pay salaries for teachers and staff, who are very much working full time and attending to students’ needs. We also need to cover the school’s overhead, which remains the same. Continuing tuition payments at this time helps SDJA and its families succeed during this immediate crisis and positions the school to be ready on day 1 when regular operations can resume.
I have a student in the Early Childhood Center (ECC). Will there be a reduction in my tuition, or some type of credit, due to the change in school operation?
SDJA recognizes that ECC education is a different segment of education than K-12, with the latter being more formal with daily schedules and mandatory attendance requirements.
SDJA has waived April ECC tuition payment while the campus is closed, and May (final) payment as well. Those families who have already paid in full for the 2019-20 school year will receive an equivalent credit, which can be used for our ECC Summer Camp, if open; or for the 2020-21 school year.
Our ECC teachers and staff are still being paid, and are working hard to provide ongoing programming and teacher/social connection for our youngest students, with appropriate adjustments and modifications. As with our K-12 teachers, we want to ensure we retain our excellent staff so that we are well positioned when in-person school operations can resume.
I have a student in the Learning Center. Will there be a reduction in my Learning Center fees?
Consistent with our ongoing educational objectives, SDJA continues to provide Learning Center services to our K-12 students within our remote learning platform. Because of these continued operations, there will not be a reduction in Learning Center fees during the campus closure period.
Will I be credited for student fees that I have paid, such as for hot lunch, the Kayefet after school program, etc.?
Yes, fees associated with auxiliary student services that have been discontinued due to the SDJA campus closure will be fully credited. These include hot lunch fees, Kayefet fees, ECC enrichment programs, and ECC Pesach camp fees paid.
I’m concerned about my financial situation. Can I suspend my scheduled tuition payment(s)?
As a general rule, ongoing tuition payments are not being suspended. SDJA is, however, providing emergency financial assistance and flexibility in making payments to those families who are most significantly impacted financially. See related FAQ below.
Will I need to start paying my school year 2020-21 tuition installments in May 2020, as scheduled?
Yes, as a general rule. SDJA is, however, providing emergency tuition assistance and flexibility in making payments for those families who are most significantly impacted financially. See related FAQ below.
My spouse or I have been laid off, or have a significant reduction in self-employment income on which we are dependent for our day-to-day living expenses. Can I apply for emergency tuition assistance?
Yes. SDJA has secured funds for emergency tuition assistance for those families in need. In fact, ten percent of SDJA families have already received emergency tuition assistance. Families that are not currently receiving tuition assistance may be asked to submit a tuition assistance application, to receive the maximum amount of tuition assistance possible. Please email TuitionAssistance@sdja.com to obtain additional information or check out these guidelines for receiving emergency TA.
Because the Senior Trip has been cancelled, will I receive a credit to my FACTS account, or a refund for amounts paid?Yes. We are very sorry about the cancellation of the Senior Trip, a capstone experience for our SDJA students. Families have been refunded all costs paid to SDJA for the Senior Trip.