ונִשְׁמַרְתֶּם מְאֹד לְנַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם
Protect your bodies most carefully!
Reading these words in Deuteronomy 4:9, our sages determined that there is a Torah obligation to be vigilant about our physical health in addition to our spiritual wellbeing. In following this commandment, we at Akiva believe that it is our duty both as a school and a halachic institution to implement measures that mitigate the risk to our community caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Our professional and Board leadership, in consultation with our medical advisory, are putting in place a number of measures to keep our children and our community as safe as possible during this time. The purpose of these measures is to limit the number and density of all people in our building and keep our students away from high-risk individuals. While it is with a heavy heart that we implement these new measures, we do so only with the welfare of our children and our families in mind. Please see below for more details.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS AN EVOLVING SITUATION AND WE WILL KEEP YOU UPDATED AS DEVELOPMENTS OCCUR AND OUR POLICIES AND DIRECTIVES ARE UPDATED.
Entry into the school
We ask that parents/grandparents/caregivers not enter the Akiva building. Please note that this includes parent volunteers (e.g. library, challah and pizza distribution, kindergarten helpers, etc.) whose services we will not be able to take advantage of at this time.
If you need to pick up your child early or drop off anything, please call the school office to make arrangements first.
Beginning Monday, March 16th, our drop-off and dismissal procedures are as follows:
In the morning, Kindergarten students are to be brought to either the Kensington or Metcalfe entrances between 7:30 and 8:00am. Children will be met at the door by a staff member and escorted to class. Kindergarten students can also be brought to class by older siblings if feasible.
Grade 1 to 6
Grade 1 to 6 students should come into the building via the Kensington or Metcalfe entrance by themselves between 7:30 and 8:00am and proceed to class. There will be staff on hand in the hallways to assist any students in need of help.
Please note that with this new drop off procedure, being on time for classes in the morning is of the utmost importance. Late students will have to enter the building at Kensington and come straight to the office.
After school, kindergarten students will be brought by teachers either to the Kensington or Metcalfe school yard at 3:20 for pickup. (Kindergarten parents will be asked to indicate which school yard their child should be brought to in another email communication.)
Grades 1 to 6
After school, grades 1 to 6 will be brought down to either the Kensington or Metcalfe school yards where they can be met by parents. Please be sure to tell your child(ren) where the designated meeting place will be for pick up.
Afterschool supervision, gymnastics and basketball
The above after school activities will continue as usual. At the end of the activity, staff will bring students out to the Kensington yard for pick up. Parents or guardians are not to come into the building to pick up.
Parent Teacher Conferences
Until further notice, all parent meetings will be done by telephone including parent teacher interviews. As a preventative measure, the upcoming parent teacher conferences will be conducted over the telephone with parents following the same schedule already distributed. Teachers will call parents (on the cell phone number of the mother, or parent 1) at the indicated times. Parents are asked to make the necessary arrangements for the other parent to participate in the call either by conference call or on speaker. The school will reach out to divorced or separated families to accommodate them. Each teacher will conduct a 10-minute phone interview with the parents, after which the next teacher will call the parent to continue the conference.
To support social distancing, we are also cancelling all school outings and gatherings until further notice. These cancellations include:
- Grade 2 Concours de Lecture outing to BJEC (March 19th)
- Robotics Competition (March 16th) which was officially cancelled by the Robotics Group
- Kindergarten Grandparent Passover Program, April 6th
- Akiva Bat Mitzvah Ceremony and Party (March 29th) – as per the directive by the Quebec Government announced today to cancel any social gatherings of 250 people or more
- The W.E.S.B.L. basketball games and playoffs which have been canceled by the league
We will not be using the Shaar facilities for any school activities until further notice.
The community Zimria concert, on March 25th, has also been cancelled by BJEC again as per directives of the government.
Students with flu-like symptoms should be kept at home. Should your child need to stay home, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of the illness. Depending on the nature and severity of illness, please take medical advice and only return your child to school when he/she is fit to do so. If a student becomes ill at school, our protocol is to advise parents immediately by phone and to take appropriate steps to ensure the well-being of the child and the school community. Any student or parent who comes into contact with a person who may have COVID-19 must contact Info-Santé at 811 and inform the school. At that point they may only come to school if they have approval from the Info-Santé health officials.
Following the recommendation of Public Health Canada and the Quebec government, people returning from abroad must self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of where they came from. This is mandatory for public sector employees in the health and education systems and Akiva will follow this best practice as well.
Any student who has traveled anywhere outside of Quebec and is asymptomatic must be self-isolated for 14 days as per the government directives. Any student who has traveled outside of Quebec and is symptomatic (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), regardless of where they have travelled to, must be self-isolated with their whole family and health authorities should be contacted immediately at 811 for further instructions. If, however, there is a traveler in the family who has traveled in the past 14 days, but the student from Akiva School has not traveled, the student is allowed to come to school. However, if during the close family member’s 14 day quarantine, that relative becomes sick, the child must immediately stop coming to school.
We ask that families be particularly vigilant concerning travel in the current identified coronavirus hot spots including France, Spain, South Korea, Italy, China, Iran, and Germany. In addition, we ask families to take extra precautions in travelling to Westchester County, New Rochelle, Washington State, California and Massachusetts.
Both myself and my administrative team will be visiting all classes to educate our students about the precautions we are taking and answer any questions our children have about how we are reacting to the virus in our community.
We will be following up all child absences from school. If your child is absent from school, we will ask you to provide information about your child’s absence and whether it was medically related and if your child experienced fever, coughing, or shortness of breath.
We are also in communication with the Ministry of Education, the Association of Jewish Day Schools, and our colleagues at independent and Jewish schools in Montreal to determine when and if it will be necessary to close our school temporarily. Should such a closure be necessary, we have protocols in place to have learning continue remotely including online classrooms, workbooks, and home reading.
We are also considering our policies regarding return to school after Passover and will keep you up to date as to any additional measures we will put in place regarding return to school following the break.
We know that many of these measures will cause disappointment to our students and families, and will impact temporarily certain aspects of our school culture. We ask for your partnership in conveying our best intentions during these difficult times.
With blessings for recovery for all those who are ill and safety and health for all.