July 17, 2020

Dear JMS Families,

Please read the following letter. We apologize as it is fairly lengthy, but we hope it provides information that is helpful to you as we approach the new school year.  Also, please be aware that if we’ve learned anything about this virus, it has the capacity to change infection rates rapidly, so we must be nimble and set nothing in stone. For now, however...

Like public and independent schools all over the country and after an unprecedented Spring, JMS has spent considerable time this Summer discussing plans for the 2020-2021 school year, especially the beginning of the school year.  We are working closely with the Akiva School to make sure our opening is as safe as possible. As you are likely aware, it is challenging to be able to make any definitive decisions in July as we know so much can change in the course of days or weeks.  However, at this point, we want to stress that our plans for JMS are for a normal, regular, on-time, in-person return on Monday, August 17, 2020. We are excited at the notion of all being together again, albeit with some modifications.  Of course, we will continue to follow the direction of the Health Department for Davidson County using them as a critical resource.  

Despite our wish and hopes for "normal" school, we are still developing contingency plans:

  • The plan we desire the most is in-person school with modifications (described below). 

  • Other plans involve a combination of teaching and learning both at school and remotely, a hybrid, blended model of sorts.  

  • Finally, of course, we know that total remote learning remains a possibility, one to which we will resort if health conditions necessitate such actions.

JMS, like other independent schools in Nashville, is fortunate in that we may make our decision of how "to do" school independently of other area schools, though we will do our best to align closely with Akiva. What we all agree on, however, is that the safety and health of all our community is the most important. So, while we seek to have all students back on campus and engaged, we know that we can only do so if we are doing all we can to make sure the environment is safe for everyone. 

What we know definitively is that, upon return, we will:

  • Engage in wearing masks consistently when in the building, students and teachers.

  • Enjoy our outdoor space not only for recess, PE, and lunch, but also for learning ("outdoor classrooms").

  • Engage in physical distancing of 6 feet both inside and outside.

  • Have temperature checks: Each student’s temperature will be taken during carpool drop-off (between 7:40-7:55 am). Faculty are expected to take their temperature each morning to ensure they are free of all symptoms before departing for work.  

  • Send any child with a temperature of 100.4 or above home immediately.

  • Ensure that a sick child may not return to school without presenting either a negative COVID test or a note from the doctor; additionally, that child must be fever free for 48 hours.

  • Weather permitting, when inside, we will keep windows open 

  • Close the school to all visitors, with the exception of crucial personnel.  (ex. outside contractors and repair professionals who will wear masks and socially distance.

  • Wipe down all desk surfaces, door knobs, etc midday and end of day.

  • Ask that all children bring their own water bottles as water fountains will be turned off.

  • Ask that all students who have traveled out of the state to be extra attentive to wearing masks for two weeks.

  • Ensure that students are washing their hands before coming in and before leaving the building and before and after they eat.

  • Have no field trips for the time being.

  • Restrict parents from entering campus (for which we are very sorry), though we look forward to welcoming our wonderful parents and volunteers when it is safe to do so!

  • Consistently inform the entire JMS community of how we are keeping the campus clean

  • Our pre-conferences will be either virtual or in person.  Details to follow!

Finally, note these COVID- related additions to our Supply List which is linked here. We ask that families bring the following in addition to the school supplies:  

  • One, preferably two, water bottles (as fountains will be turned off)

  • Cups for drinking (should a child forget his/her bottle)

  • Clipboard for outside classwork

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Lysol wipes 

  • A pencil pouch (to ensure writing materials are not shared)

 

Please note that all plans and protocols are subject to change if additional knowledge about transmission informs a prudent adjustment, official guidance requires an alteration, or other circumstances develop that make changes prudent in the interest of the health and safety of JMS students and faculty.

We are doing everything possible to make the upcoming school year an engaging and enriching one.  We know it will require patience, flexibility, and commitment on the part of everyone, students, parents, and teachers to make this a reality within the confines we are presented.  That said, we hope to see you soon!

Please stay tuned for time and dates for our virtual Town Hall meetings on this topic to be held in late July, early August.  We will update you on where JMS is as far as protecting your children and take your questions.

July 22, 2020

Look at one of our new outdoor classrooms!

ABOUT JEWISH MIDDLE SCHOOL OF NASHVILLE

JMS serves the Nashville area with a nurturing educational environment that embraces the Jewish people's love of learning and commitment to repairing the world in which we live. Our families have a wide range of beliefs, affiliations, and observances, but share common core values that define our community. 

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