CESJDS to begin transition to hybrid learning


Photo by Irit Skulnik

Plexiglass placed in main office and around school as a safety precaution with the return of in-person learning.

Maya Preuss, News Editor

Head of School Rabbi Mitch Malkus announced that CESJDS will begin to transition from distance learning to hybrid learning at the end of October in an email he sent on Oct. 1. 

The Lower School and middle school will begin to return Oct. 26. However, due to space limitations, safety, faculty concerns and scheduling issues, the high school will not begin to transition to hybrid learning for the time being. 

Lower School students will be split into cohorts and have two partial days of in-person learning per week with the expectation of eventually having four per week. Each middle school grade will return to in-person school one day per week while having learning and activities outside for as much time as possible. 

“We are excited to begin these first steps to transitioning to more on-campus learning,” Malkus wrote. “As we increase time on campus and add more grades, we expect increased needs for personnel and will be asking for parent support.” 

JDS will also require all students and faculty to receive a negative COVID-19 test result before their return to the school building. The school has also installed plexiglass and reconfigured classrooms to ensure appropriate social distancing. 

“I think we have to put the necessary precautions in place, and I think that means everyone being responsible for knowing that we’re not responsible just for ourselves, we’re responsible for every single person that’s gonna be in the building with us at any given time,” Nancy and Paul Hamburger Jewish Text Department Chair Aviva Gershman said. 

Middle school families and students will also be required to sign a social compact which states the precautions that community members must adhere to. Additional information will be sent out to the community closer to the start of hybrid learning. 

Although high school students and faculty will be unable to return to in-person learning, regular in-person programming for grades will begin. The senior class will have a tie-dye party on Oct. 9, while freshmen, sophomores and juniors will begin programming the following week. 

“The school could reevaluate later on, but for now I think the teachers are doing a great job and the students are doing a great job, so there’s really no need to go back into hybrid learning,” senior Liora Ettedgui said. 

However, if at any point this year 11 or more positive cases per 100,000 people occur in Montgomery County for five consecutive days, then in-person learning will be halted until it is deemed safe to return. 

“We want to thank you for your support, continued understanding and patience. As we work together to bring your children back to our CESJDS campuses, we are grateful for your partnership,” Malkus wrote.