May 11, 2020
On Wednesday, many of us tuned in to hear the announcement from Premier Horgan that BC will start to gradually ease some of the restrictions that were implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is undoubtedly a relief for many who have been missing friends, family and regular routines. While we are very eager to have everyone back at RJDS, what is first and foremost is that everyone in our community is safe if they come to our building. This will mean there are going to be new requirements and routines put in place to ensure reopening is safe for everyone. This could include smaller class sizes, alternating attendance arrangements, frequent hand washing or sanitizing, wearing non-medical masks and a thorough and comprehensive cleaning plan. We will be working with the Ministries of Health and Education and the BC Centre for Disease Control in order to implement the most updated guidelines available, while addressing the needs of our own school community.
Premier Horgan outlined the BC Restart Plan as a four-phase process (see below). No specific decisions have been made about the timelines or the format for returning to school, and no decisions will be made without further input from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. We will be looking in the coming days for more information from the Minister of Education, Rob Fleming, and we will continue to do the work we need to be ready for returning to the building. With so many unknowns we ask for your patience and we will keep you apprised of more developments as they come.
The BC Restart Plan
|Phase 1 (Where we are today)||Essential services and others able to continue operations under existing public health orders and guidelines.|
|Phase 2 (Mid-May onward)||Under enhanced protocols:
· restoration of health services, including rescheduling elective surgery
· medically related services (dentistry, physiotherapy, RMT, chiropractors, speech therapy, physical therapy and similar services)
· hair salons/barbers and other personal service establishments
· in-person counselling
· restaurants/cafes/pubs (with sufficient distancing measures)
· museums, art galleries, libraries
· office-based worksites
· parks, beaches and outdoor spaces (parks that can accommodate physical distancing will be open for day use only beginning May 14, 2020)
· child care
· small social gatherings (2-6 people)
· recalling the provincial legislature
|Phase 3 (June-September, if transmission rate remains low or in decline)||Under enhanced protocols:
· Hotels and resorts (June)
· Parks – broader opening (overnight camping to reopen June 1)
· Film industry, beginning with domestic productions (June/July)
· Select entertainment – movies and symphony, but not large concerts (July)
· Post-secondary education – mix of online and in-class (September)
· K-12 education – partial return in June; full return in September (further announcements expected in the coming weeks)
|Phase 4 (TBD) – conditional on at least one of wide vaccination; community immunity or broad successful treatments||· Large gatherings, such as conventions, live audience professional sports and concerts
· International tourism
Stages for Return to School
|Education stages for K-12 students|
Suspend all in-class instruction for all grades and students. Remote and online learning for all students.
|Stage 4 *Current stage*
In-class learning for children of essential service workers and vulnerable students. Remote and online learning continues for most students.
In-class learning for students in kindergarten to Grade 5 on a part-time basis. Access to in-class learning as needed for grades 6 to 12 on a part-time basis. Remote and online learning continues to be available for students.
In-class learning for all students in elementary school (K to 7) on a full-time basis. In-class learning for secondary students (grades 8 to 12) on a part-time basis.
Remote and online learning continues to be available for secondary students.
A return to full in-class instruction.
We are greatly appreciative of your support and patience during this time. As we carefully move forward, our goal will be to continue to work together as a community in the spirit of flexibility, understanding and empathy.
Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
May 3, 2020
Dear RJDS Families,
Wow! I can’t believe it is already May. It’s remarkable at how time is both flying by and standing still in these strange times.
As you likely know, the province has not yet made any decisions regarding the re-opening of schools for this academic year. For the time being, we will surely do our best to keep the learning engaging and the experiences meaningful. We have been working hard to try to balance student learning experience, both synchronous and asynchronous, and finding the best formats to share information with you. We hope that the new format for some of the weekly learning plans is working for you, and as always, we are open to feedback.
We continue to look forward and are working on a variety of things including:
- Finding a way to secure our Continuous Learning platform so all information including Zoom links can be found in one place
- Finding creative ways to connect and join together as a community, even though we may be far apart
- Looking at what third term reporting to parents will look like
- As we wait to see whether we return to school this academic year we are already thinking about how – when we go forward to school next year – we will navigate our new reality keeping student and staff health and safety paramount
With our students learning from home, our partnership with you is more important than ever. “Going” to school at home is challenging for students, teachers, and parents. It is a learning experience for us all, not one that we ever anticipated, and we have to cut ourselves some slack.
Here are some things that may help:
Establish and maintain a routine
- Important parts of a daily schedule can include the same morning wake-up time, meals and unstructured time. We all need time set aside for connecting socially, physical activity, time outside and time for personal pursuits.
“Send” your children to school as if they are leaving for the day
- Please ensure your students are dressed, have had a good breakfast and have what they need for the day. Have a space where your child can work without distractions, at a desk or table.
- We ask all students to consider their work/study area at home as part of the classroom. Our expectation is that our students are dressed for school (their school uniform is not necessary but no pajamas, please), and are adhering to all the typical requirements of their classes. This includes not texting during classes, jumping on beds, etc.
Make time for wellness
- It is important that each of us takes some time to take care of ourselves. That might mean not all schoolwork gets done to make room for your social and emotional needs. Although Covid-19 is not taking a physical toll on us all, it is hitting many of us pretty hard and it is taking an emotional toll. Try to take time to laugh, to play together, to breathe, to try new things. This too shall pass.
April 27, 2020
Shalom RJDS Parents,
This first week back has flown by quickly! It was wonderful on Monday to see all the smiling student and teacher faces as we resumed our online learning journey together, and it was great to see some of you join us in our fantastic Shabbat concert with Moshav band on Friday.
We appreciate all your feedback on our Continuous learning program. We know that with each family situation and each child being unique that there are no one-size-fits-all programs. Therefore, please do what works for your family. What is most important right now is mental health and a sense of normalcy and compassion in our homes. As is stated in one of my favourite books, The Little Prince, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
The physical work is not the priority. You and your children are. As much as we want learning to continue, we in no way want you to feel over-whelmed or overburdened. It is important to spend time outside, laugh, play… If you find the work is too much, speak to the teachers who can help guide you as to where they think your child will benefit most.
On Wednesday, we will be taking a pause from our regular learning program to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut. We have a special schedule with Zoom calls, games, cooking activities, etc. We hope that your children join us for all of the Zoom events and that they have some fun celebrating Israel. We promise students that once we join back together, they will get their special annual falafel lunch.
Links are not embedded on the schedule on the portal for safety reasons. They have been sent separately via Constant Contact.
I want to thank you for approaching this journey with us with an attitude of gratitude and grace, showing faith and flexibility, and with a mindset of positivity and patience. We are in this together.
April 20, 2020
March 30, 2020
Thank you very much to the families who gave us feedback through the first round of surveys and in direct conversation about the challenges (and successes) students and parents are facing navigating the day-to-day.
You spoke, we listened….This week will you will see some of what worked well during week 1, along with some improved pieces based on your feedback.
- All classes will be having Zoom meetings to help with moving education forward, social isolation, and accountability.
- There are some new on-line platforms to explore, along with a lot of activities not being on a screen.
- Goals and expectations have been clarified.
It is helpful to keep in mind that when we started, our goal was simply to have something in place as soon as possible. It was never our design to try to entirely replicate the in-school schedule virtually, nor would we want to. We are very cognizant that no matter where we land that it will provide too little or too much structure; too little or too much independent work; and too little or too much screen time. We are not only being guided by direct feedback, but by experts, and by schools that have been doing this a week or two longer than we have. As many schools across BC come back from Spring Break, we are also beginning to get more direction from the Ministry of Education as to what their expectations look like. The good news is that we are ahead of the curve.
I am excited to continue to hear and see what the new learning experience will be like, and I look forward to collectively sharing photos, quotes, and videos with each other. We can all learn from one another and share our creative ideas and successes! We are in this together.
As we continue to adjust to our new norms, please do not hesitate to be in touch. Your teachers continue to be your best source of information for daily experiences, but I am here to answer any questions or address any concerns to the best of my ability.
March 22, 2020
Dear RJDS Parents and Students,
Tomorrow we launch into a new (temporary) phase of RJDS Education – Continuous Remote Learning. Over the next weeks we are going to be OPEN for learning, community, and fun even while our buildings are closed. We are approaching this with a growth mindset and as a learning experience, and we welcome your constructive feedback as to how things are going. The first few days will give us all a taste for what this experience is going to be like and to give us meaningful data to guide what comes next.
We made a list of things you should know as we get ready to start remote learning tomorrow morning:
CREATING A SCHEDULE
- We are aware that each family’s situation is different, and so might be each family’s daily schedule. Here is an example of a schedule you might use. Here is another one. Use these as a guide to create a schedule that works for your situation. *We do not expect you to follow the daily RJDS schedule, but to ensure students are engaging in learning. Once Zoom is up, will there be a more specific time students should plan on focusing on academics.
GRADE SPECIFIC ACADEMICS
- This week we are focusing on Choice Boards. (A Choice board is a graphic organizer that allows students to choose different ways to learn about a particular concept.)
- Every grade’s looks a little different, and all these are posted on a new section of our website here. You can see your information for the week but keep checking because it could change. Also, keep your eyes out for specific emails from teachers and messages on classroom platforms such as FreshGrade and SeeSaw.
USING TECHNOLOGY FOR LEARNING
- ZOOM: Soon we will start using ZOOM for class meetings and direct lessons. Please familiarize yourselves with the platform here.
- Each class might have slightly different expectations and rules around ZOOM. ZOOM invitations for each class will be sent by teachers.
- As you will see in the different Choice Boards, we are also experimenting with different technologies and platforms. We are aware that there is going to be a learning curve for everyone.
. Make sure to turn off your pop-up blocker, or you will not be able to open up the links.
All the information you need is available on our website. We created a page called “Continuous Learning” — it includes communications, information on academics, lots of learning resources, and other helpful information and ideas. We will keep adding to this every day.
DESIGNING A PERSONAL LEARNING SPACE
It’s really important for each student to set up a happy place for learning where they have all the materials that they need. Here’s what we suggest:
- Find a space that is especially your child’s! This might be their room, or it could be a particular corner of your dining table.
- Make sure there is a desk, table, or writing surface like this.
- Gather lined paper, white paper, pens, pencils, and markers in an organized way.
- Put all your “Just in Case” materials that your teachers sent home there.
- Have a laptop, iPad, or desktop computer there.
- Leave headphones there, and mark them with your child’s name.
- Let your child decorate their space for learning in a way that makes them happy.
CONTACTING TEACHERS & ADMINISTRATORS
- Teachers: Parents and students can speak to teachers just like you would any time. If a student would like to speak to their teacher, a grownup should email them, and they will give you a call.
- Students can schedule a time between 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM each weekday to meet with Malki to talk about anything. Grownups can also reach out for advice.
- If you have a concern for the business office, you can email Janet, too!
- Grownups and students can email Morah Ronit anytime for whatever reason, even just to send a virtual elbow hello. Ronit is also the person to reach out to if you have any feedback/ideas/suggestions about our remote learning.
EXPECTATION OF STUDENTS
- Effort: Students should be ready for learning each day. This means that they are active learners who are listening, thinking, asking questions, answering questions, working hard, and asking teachers for help when they need it. A student might not be able to ask during a class as they usually would, but they can always have a grownup email the teachers right after a class and set up a time to talk.
- Accountability: We are asking students to be accountable for their learning. This may look different for different assignments and in different grades, but students/parents should email teachers outcomes of their learning (documents, photos, pictures, etc.) weekly.
- Kindness & Respect: All our usual expectations around kindness and respect—for fellow students and teachers—apply. Because ZOOM is a new classroom environment for us all, we have to be extra careful to treat everyone with respect. This includes the following:
- The way a student appears on video must be respectful to all.
- The things a student writes on ZOOM chat (when it is enabled) must be worded in kind and respectful ways.
- Each student must follow their teachers’ instructions if they are asked to shift the way they are behaving.
- This is not home school! Parents are not expected to teach their children or even understand all that they are learning. A parent’s role is to make sure their children have what they need, check in to make sure they are completing their assignments, and let teachers know if they need extra support or challenge work.
- We have put a structure in place, but we also recognize that parents may need flexibility. If some aspect of this is not working in your family, please let us know so we can try to help.
- Monitor technology: This period of time will involve a lot more technology than our children are used to, and we have not had the time to prepare them for this shift. There are a few easy ways to keep their tech use safe and healthy. We recommend:
- Rules:Set family rules about technology use outside of class in terms of time on screens and internet use.
- Search History:Check your children’s search history even if they are not permitted to be online alone.
- Expectations of Privacy: Tell your children that you will be checking and that there is no expectation of privacy here.
- Talk to us: This is going to be a fluid process, and we need to know how parents and students are doing in order to improve. If a student needs something with respect to a specific lesson, their grownup should reach out to their teacher. If a student needs support overall in managing this new form of learning or this new reality, their grownup should reach out to one of us.
TAKING CARE OF OURSELVES, AND OUR KIDS
- I did not write this, but it holds true: Reposted: very true….
Dear parents with school aged children,
You might be inclined to create a minute by minute schedule for your kids. You have high hopes of hours of learning, including online activities, science experiments, and book reports. You’ll limit technology until everything is done! But here’s the thing…
Our kids are just as scared as we are right now. Our kids not only can hear everything that is going on around them, but they feel our constant tension and anxiety. They have never experienced anything like this before. Although the idea of being off of school for 4 weeks sounds awesome, they are probably picturing a fun time like summer break, not the reality of being trapped at home and not seeing their friends.
Over the coming weeks, you will see an increase in behavior issues with your kids. Whether it’s anxiety, or anger, or protest that they can’t do things normally – it will happen. You’ll see more meltdowns, tantrums, and oppositional behavior in the coming weeks. This is normal and expected under these circumstances.
What kids need right now is to feel comforted and loved. To feel like it’s all going to be ok. And that might mean that you tear up your perfect schedule and love on your kids a bit more. Play outside and go on walks. Bake cookies and paint pictures. Play board games and watch movies. Do a science experiment together or find virtual field trips of the zoo. Start a book and read together as a family. Snuggle under warm blankets and do nothing.
Don’t worry about them regressing in school. Every single kid is in this boat and they all will be ok. When we are back in the classroom, we will all course correct and meet them where they are. Teachers are experts at this! Don’t pick fights with your kids because they don’t want to do math. Don’t scream at your kids for not following the schedule. Don’t mandate 2 hours of learning time if they are resisting it.
If I can leave you with one thing, it’s this: at the end of all of this, your kids’ mental health will be more important than their academic skills. And how they felt during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they did during those 4 weeks is long gone. So keep that in mind, every single day.
Stay safe. X
- These are tough times, and we have to be kind to ourselves. We are all trying our best, and that is all that we can do. We are here to support one another.
- We are thinking about how our school community can help ward off the coming social recession as social distancing continues. Our PAC and staff are brainstorming virtual social opportunities and any parent who has the time to facilitate an online social interaction, once a week for an hour, is encouraged to email us with their ideas. This week we will be hosting a Virtual Challah bake on Thursday (details to come).
ASK A “HOW MIGHT WE?” QUESTIONS
Optimism and creativity are going to be really fantastic tools to make this virtual school fun and successful. We want you to be dreaming up new ideas all the time and sharing them with your class and with the whole school. Keep asking yourself “How might we” questions, like:
- How might we have really fun virtual play dates with friends?
- How might we work on projects with friends when we are in different homes?
- How might we share great ideas for art projects with each other?
- How might we teach each other how to do things that we have learned at home?
- How might we make our friends feel better if they are sad?
We are all going to do our best to learn and be happy. This is a new way of learning and a new way of spending time with each other. When we start something it almost never works out exactly as we plan. So, we have to be flexible.
- When something doesn’t work out (like your ZOOM class gets canceled, or a video you want to share can’t upload quickly, or you left a class not understanding something a teacher taught), it is really normal to feel angry, frustrated and/or sad.
- And, it is also really important not to blame yourself or someone else. Instead, we need to try hard to be flexible in the moment—to smell the flowers and blow out the candles or take a deep breath—and then describe the problem to someone else and think about what you can do together to make it better.
Flexibility is the MOST IMPORTANT thing you can work on right now, it is probably the quality that will make you most happy whether you are a student, teacher or parent.
Finally, we need to continue to give each other permission to be nervous and space to make mistakes. We need to recognize that we are in uncharted territory and that all the work we are doing to keep the learning and Jewish experiences moving forward is not designed to be an additional burden to bear or set of logistical or technical roadblocks to overcome. Thank you for your patience and your support as we go on this journey together. We are blessed with talented teachers, sensational students and passionate parents. I couldn’t be prouder of being part of the RJDS. Take care of yourselves and each other…