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    Friedel Jewish Academy Head of School Beth Cohen calls last year “a school year like no other” that “taught us powerful life lessons about being flexible and adapting to changing situations.” Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Friedel students were able to learn in-person, five days a week, for almost all of 2020–2021 school year, with no in-school COVID-19 transmission.

    This month, students and teachers will begin the new school year. Friedel’s leadership team has spent the summer planning and working with the school’s team of local physicians, to ensure that the return to school provides the nurturing, engaging learning environment families associate with Friedel while continuing to protect the health and safety of the school community.

    Cohen says, “We know how important in-school learning is to our students. Following the expert advice about pandemic procedures will help keep our school community safe and learning together.”

    The Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend universal masking in schools, regardless of vaccination status.  Because of this, all students, teachers, staff, and visitors will be required to wear masks while in the Friedel building. Mask use outdoors will be determined based on the activity. The school will reexamine this policy once children ages 5 and up are able to be fully vaccinated.

    Cohen also explained that the school will be able to relax some distancing guidelines. This will allow for a return to mixed-grade activities, like the daily all-school morning meeting, more collaborative work activities, and using classroom spaces in more flexible ways. Students will, however, remain in cohorts during lunch and snack.

    Cohen looks forward to a day when the pandemic is fully in the past, but says that for now, she is “confident that we are making the best decisions we can, based on the information available to us, to prioritize both health and safety and students’ learning and all-around development.”

    Friedel does still have a limited number of spaces available in certain grades. Those who are interested in learning more about a Friedel education are encouraged to contact Director of Advancement Sara Kohen at skohen@fjaoma ha.com.