CESJDS kindergarten and Gurim in full swing for hybrid learning


Photo courtesy of Laurie Ehrlich

Kindergarten students learn at the Lower School while wearing masks and remaining socially distant.

Jonah Beinart, Reporter

Since the beginning of the year, kindergarten and Gurim students have been going to school in-person, five days a week. There are more than 60 Gurim and kindergarten students who are at school in-person.

Laura Hosid, who has a daughter in kindergarten, said that she chose to send her daughter to school in person because of the difficulties that both she and her daughter would have if she stayed home.

“I don’t think kindergarteners can effectively learn virtually, … and I have a full-time job, so it would be difficult to have a five-year-old at home,” Hosid said.

The most important part of the day, according to Lower School Principal Matthew Bellas, is the arrival and dismissal of the students. He said that because of the possibly crowded areas at the beginning and end of the day, the risk of transmitting COVID-19 is high.

“We assigned specific entry locations and carpool routes for all of the different grade levels … so that we have distancing and not too much congestion with the entry doors,” Bellas said.

At the end of the day, instead of the usual gathering in the gym or cafeteria, teachers have utilized a texting system to send the carpool numbers so that not every student leaves the building at once.

“Even though the cafeteria and the gym are enormous, and we could fit lots of kids in there with six feet of distancing, we just wanted to be extra careful and not do it that way,” Bellas said.

The Lower School is using a cohort system to prevent the spread between many students at once. If someone tested positive within the cohort, everyone in that cohort would be sent home to quarantine for two weeks.

“Each cohort has a classroom, and the kids stay in that room the entire day,” Kindergarten Teacher Lisah Bernstein said. “Every activity is done within the cohorts … recess outside and eating outside. We do not share spaces [with other cohorts].”

Bernstein said that she feels safe when she walks into the building every morning. 

“I know that they get guidance constantly and consistently from the health department,” Bernstein said. “I do believe JDS is doing everything they can, and they are above and beyond. I feel 100% comfortable.”