YFE COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan
Congregation Emanu-El YFE COVID-19 Health and Safety PLAN 2021-2022
Dear YFE community,
Over the past months, we have been working diligently to develop a reopening plan which would allow us to safely return to in-person learning and instruction while meeting the physical, social, and emotional needs of our students, families, and staff. This document outlines our efforts to achieve this goal. At the same time, we recognize that the conditions and research on best practices continue to evolve and our protocols will follow suit.
- The policies and procedures in this plan are intended to be implemented in September and October 2021. The plan will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, and especially in mid-October to ensure our practices are consistent with current guidance from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and with hopes of fully implementing our program once conditions allow.
- We are guided by principles as we plan to re-open, including: a) prioritizing health and safety, b) attending to our students’ social and emotional needs, c) connecting students to one another and our Jewish community, d) supporting families, and e) retaining our educators.
- At least for September and October, our program will function entirely outdoors for unvaccinated students. T’filah will be held in the courtyard. Classes will be shortened to meet self-imposed limits on the number of people in the courtyard, eliminate the need for public food consumption in a longer program, and limit seat-time in a colder space. We will maintain the conservative limit of 200 persons in the courtyard at any time.
- Staff will be required to be vaccinated unless they have a medical exemption. Masks will be required of all staff and students.
- The Kesher (Kindergarten-5th grade indoor program) will hold two sessions on Sundays.
Kesher Session Alef : 9 – 10:45am (Kindergarten-5th grade)
T’filah 9 – 9:30 am
Class will run from 9:30 – 10:45 am
Kesher Session Bet: 11:15 am – 1 pm (Kindergarten-5th grade)
Class will run from 11:15 – 12:30 pm
T’filah 12:30 – 1 pm
Kadimah: 9:30 am – 1:00 pm (preschool-2nd grade)
9:20 – 9:30 am – Kadimah drop-off at 8th Ave and Lake Street
12:30 pm – Kadimah students return to the Courtyard
1 pm – Pick up Kadimah students from Emanu-El
B’hootz: 9am – 1 pm (please note, first day change to September 19 for B’hootz students 3rd-5th grade)
9 – 9:30 am – T’fillah in the Courtyard with B’hootz
9:30 am – B’hootz classes walk to the Presidio
1 pm – Pick up B’hootz students in the Presidio
All 4th – 7th grade Hebrew classes will be online for September and October
Sundays 2:00 – 3:00 pm
Mondays 4:15 – 5:30 pm and 5:15 – 6:30 pm
Thursdays 4:15 – 5:30 pm and 5:15 – 6:30 pm
Wednesday classes will also be held on Zoom, and the time will be 4 – 5:30 pm. Please note that we hope to return to in-person learning and when we do the class sessions will return to their regular length (4 – 6:30 pm).
Sixth Grade: Because many 6th graders remain ineligible for vaccination and we have limited outdoor space, the first trimester for 6th grade will be held online 9:30 am on Sunday mornings in September and October. Please note that on the first Sunday, September 12, 6th grade will meet online for a half hour at 10 am for an overview of the program.
Seventh Grade: Mitzvah Corps will meet in-person, outside for our service projects. Groups of 12-20 students will meet one Sunday each month for 90 minutes of text study, service learning, and reflection. Meeting spaces will be at Emanu-El, Ocean Beach, or Baker Beach. Masks are required for all students and instructors at all times. In cases of rain, or high AQI, sessions will be cancelled and rescheduled if possible.
Eighth Grade Madrichim in Training (MiT): We are always excited to welcome and nurture our future leaders. We have a small group of up to twelve students. Since the group is smaller, we will be holding class in a large space in the building. We will meet weekly, on Sundays from 9:00 – 10:30 am. All students and instructors must provide proof of full vaccination, or a negative PCR result that is dated within 72 hours prior to the class.
Eighth through Eleventh Grade TEF: Each grade will meet every other Sunday morning from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm at Emanu-El. Eighth and tenth graders’ first week is September 19, and ninth and eleventh graders’ first week is September 26. Class sessions will take place in large indoor spaces, with masks on. All students and instructors must provide proof of full vaccination, or a negative PCR result that is dated within 72 hours prior to the class.
Twelfth Grade TEF: This class will meet monthly, from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm. Class sessions will be held in a large indoor space, with all participants masked at all times. All students and instructors must provide proof of full vaccination, or a negative PCR result that is dated within 72 hours prior to the class.
As we embark upon this year, we will be guided by the following principles:
Safety and Health are our Highest Priority: Our plans will follow all San Francisco Department of Public Health Guidance.
Developmentally appropriate practice and curriculum with an emphasis on social-emotional learning: We understand that during these uncertain and challenging times children desperately need to feel a sense of normalcy and predictability. We also recognize that, after a prolonged distance from YFE, friends and in-person interactions, we especially need to attend to the social, emotional and spiritual needs of our students. As a team of educators, we will continue to focus on meeting these needs through responsive and thoughtful teaching practices.
Connection, Community and Inspiration: During this uncertain time, we have chosen to prioritize our students’ connection to one another, Jewish texts, our Jewish community, and developing our students’ Jewish identity.
Supporting our families through this uncertain time: We want to be a source of comfort and support rather than a source of anxiety as we learn to navigate this time together. Recognizing just how much members of our community have had to juggle over the past months, we hope that YFE can support you well beyond caring for your child during school hours; that the synagogue and our Rabbis can be a source of spiritual support, and that the connections you make with other families can help you feel rooted in our community.
Supporting (and retaining) our amazing educators: We understand that our teachers are the most important ingredient in this recipe and recognize that their already challenging jobs are harder this year than they have ever been. Our goal is to foster a work environment where our teachers’ needs are anticipated and met and where they feel safe doing this very important work.
This reopening plan focuses on our continued mission, relevant today more than ever, to nurture the next generation of Jewish and global citizens as they become caretakers of each other, our traditions, our community, and our planet by imbuing our daily acts with the highest of Jewish values.
We are all in this together and we ask for your partnership, flexibility, creativity, and patience.
Procedures and Protocols
The policies and procedures in this plan are intended to be implemented in September and October 2021. During the month of October, they will be reviewed and updated, and significant programmatic changes may be made in accord with health and safety considerations at that time. Should urgent re-consideration of these policies and procedures be needed prior to the month of October, we will make adjustments as appropriate for the health and safety of students, staff and all community members.
Shanah Kushner will serve as our COVID-19 Staff member who will be the single point of contact for questions, concerns, or exposures.
If someone in our program is exposed to Covid-19, we will follow CDC guidelines outlined in the document “What To Do If A Student Becomes Sick or Reports A New Covid-19 Diagnosis at School”
Should there be a need to quarantine students during program hours, students will quarantine in the CEE Board Room.
We will follow Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards at https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/coronavirus/ETS.html
We will not exclude children and youth because of medical conditions that may increase their risk of severe COVID-19, and will let the child’s medical team and family decide if it’s safe for them to attend.
Preventing the Spread of COVID-19
We will encourage vaccination for all eligible students, and require vaccination for all staff excepting medical exemptions. We will limit the number of people in the courtyard to below 200 – well below the capacity of the space. This means family members will not be permitted to enter, except for kindergarten students in the Kesher program who need support with transitioning and students identified as needing a caring companion.
Although face masks are not currently required outdoors by the SFDPH, we will require face masks to be worn outdoors at all times, with the exception of clergy and staff leading T’filah, and excepting required removal for appropriate medical reasons and other exceptions as outlined in https://www.sfdph.org/dph/alerts/covid-guidance/2020-14-Guidance-Childcare.pdf (page 3)
As recommended by SFDPH, we are moving our program outdoors into the courtyard. T’filah will take place outdoors, and classes will take place in smaller groups than normal for a shorter time period than normal in designated areas of the courtyard. If the AQI indicates 100 or higher.
Screening, Drop-off/ pick-up: Students’ families will be asked to review the Symptom and Exposure Check checklist at: https://www.sfdph.org/dph/files/ig/Parent-Guardian-Health-Check-Handout.pdf and follow the procedures outlined there, namely to keep children at home if they have any of the identified symptoms and notify the doctor and the child’s school program. We will send this poster by email to remind families regularly. Students will be met in their cars by a team of madrichimot (teens) who will, with minimal contact, assist them in getting to their small group inside the courtyard as quickly as possible so as to minimize exposure to other children.
Travel: We recommend, but do not require that staff and students follow CDC recommendations for travel, including quarantining after travel as recommended by the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html
Cleaning and Disinfection: As per SFDPH, routine disinfection to prevent COVID-19 is no longer recommended for programs for children and youth since surfaces are not a significant route of transmission. We will follow pre-COVID-19 universal health precautions for handwashing as per https://cchp.ucsf.edu/sites/g/files/tkssra181/f/standardprecen020305_adr.pdf. Frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned daily. Additional disinfection and cleaning will only be completed if a person with COVID-19 was present within the last 24 hours.
Physical Distancing: As per the SFDPH guidelines, physical distancing is less important when people wear masks, vaccination rates are high and spread of COVID-19 is low. Furthermore, “moving higher-risk activities outdoors will reduce COVID-19 risk more than physical distancing indoors.” (pg. 6 of Interim Guidance for Child Care Programs). As physical distancing is no longer required, and our program will take place in an area with air flowing freely, we will not require physical distancing. We are prioritizing using the courtyard with free air flow, and in order for students to learn in these spaces, they will be organized in circled chairs. We will distance students from other cohorts during singing. There will be no eating during the program under normal circumstances.
Limited access: T’filah – We will hold T’filah in the outdoor courtyard in September and October and may move into one of the sanctuaries in November, depending on conditions at that time. We will space children and families according to grade level and class. All participants will be masked including during singing. Out of an abundance of caution, for September and October, we are not allowing parents to access the courtyard or building with the exception of a) parents of kindergarten students in the Kesher program who need support with transitioning, b) students identified as needing a caring companion, c) parents of vaccinated 6th graders who will join them for programming in the sanctuary should that program remain in person. These parents and students will not join T’filah in the courtyard, but will proceed directly to the sanctuary. We will continue to limit any nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations.
Cohorting: Although cohorting is not required, students will primarily remain with their small group of students to limit the spread of COVID-19. They may work with teachers, staff and specialists in addition to their primary teaching team. Furthermore, although there is no maximum group size as per SFDPH, we will keep student groups to fewer than 20 students.
Carpooling: If families choose to carpool, we encourage them to try to carpool with the same stable group of people, open windows and turn the fan on high, set to outdoor air. We also encourage them to treat the vehicle as an indoor space such that everyone in the vehicle should wear a face mask.
Family – Staff Partnerships & Social Agreements
For our reopening plans to succeed, we need your partnership in following all of the safety protocols outlined in this plan, including (please note that some of these expectations will be reiterated in other parts of this document):
- Keeping your child at home if they have any symptoms of illness: While in a typical year we are mandated by law not to exclude children from care unless they have several very specific symptoms, under COVID, the restrictions around sending children to school will be significantly more stringent. We ask you to be our first line of defense in keeping our school healthy by staying home if your child shows any symptoms, mild or otherwise.
- Medicating children: Never mask your child’s fever with medicine.
- Notifying the school: Parents and teachers must immediately notify the Assistant Director in writing if they or anyone in their household develops symptoms or a respiratory illness (e.g. cough, sore throat, shortness of breath) and fever.
- Modeling hygiene and best practices for your children daily: Wear face coverings outside of the house, wash your hands routinely, and engage your children in these practices. Limit contact with those outside of your immediate family. Practice having your child wear a mask in small increments daily.
- Model responsible positivity with your children: Stay calm, listen, and offer reassurance when your children exhibit concern or anxiety around COVID-19. Be aware of how you discuss the topic as conversations can increase or decrease your child’s fear. If true, remind your child that your family is healthy and that you are going to do everything within your power to keep your loved ones safe and well. Carefully listen or have them draw or write out their thoughts and feelings and respond with truth and reassurance.
- Engage in conversations and set expectations in partnership with your community members: We ask for your feedback and engagement in order to best support the school and one another.
YFE’S COMMITMENT TO HEALTH AND SAFETY
YFE is committed to providing a robust learning experience while ensuring a safe and strong community during the pandemic. We have invested heavily in technology and infrastructure to support our families and students including:
- Masks (disposable) will be available if students’ masks break or they forget them. Teachers will also have gloves and sanitizer available.
- Reconfiguration of spaces including safety signage, posted protocols, barriers, outdoor equipment, and class relocation
- Touchless thermometers needed for checks when students show signs of symptoms
- Air purifiers in every classroom (upon return to classrooms)
RE-OPENING TASK FORCE
Our decisions around reopening, including the structure of our program, expectations for families and staff, and preparation for the various challenges we may encounter are based on San Francisco Department of Public Health and made in consultation with Congregation Emanu-El’s COVID-19 Advisory team, made up of physicians, infectious disease and event management specialists.
San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH)
SFDPH Schools and Childcare Hub for COVID–19 consultation and guidance (628) 217–7499 or email [email protected]
COVID-19 guidance for the public, including employers. https://sfcdcp.org/covid19
COVID-19 guidance for programs for children and youth. https://sfcdcp.org/school
“Quick Guide for Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19”
“Parent and Caregiver Handout: COVID19 Symptom and Exposure Check/Returning to School after Symptoms”
Outreach Toolkit for Coronavirus – https://sf.gov/resource/2021/covid-19-outreach-toolkit
California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
Guidance for Child Care Providers and Programs, issued 6/29/2021 – https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Child-Care-Guidance.aspx
Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings, updated 7/28/2021 – https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/guidance-for-facecoverings.aspx
San Francisco Department of Public Health Updated 8/13/2021. Online at https://sfcdcp.org/school
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Schools and Childcare Programs – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/index.html
Guidance for Operating Early Childhood Education/Child Care Programs, updated July 9, 2021 – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/child-care-guidance.html
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