The following descriptions are meant to provide a broad overview of instruction and learning under each possible mode during the 2021-2022 school year.
In this mode, all students will be back on campus, learning in-person. Universal masking will be enforced with a continuous emphasis on hand hygiene, social distancing and other safe practices. While large-scale community events will still be conducted through a digital platform, students will be able to maintain physical activities through PE and recess, the celebration of Jewish holidays and many other hallmarks of a traditional Bernard Zell education. In-person instruction will vary between divisions with some changes to the traditional schedule.
Bernard Zell recognizes there may be times during the school year when, although we are in session and on campus, some families may need to have their students learn from home. In circumstances where a student has a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or needs to quarantine due to exposure, we are able to offer developmentally appropriate (grades 3-8) access to classroom learning and related materials via live stream. Students will be able to observe classroom activities and submit assignments and receive feedback from their teachers via digital platforms. This will be a modified experience that may require active parent participation and partnership in order to provide full access to school content.
Live stream or remote classroom access will not be available for students who are traveling, quarantining due to travel, or are out with other illnesses. Remote options are not available for Nursery, Junior Kindergarten, Senior Kindergarten, First, or Second grades since it is not developmentally appropriate. Teachers and division heads will work with families on a case by case basis to keep kids connected in early grades.
Cohort or Grade Moves to Distance Learning
Division Leaders and teachers have prepared distance learning plans. Additional details will be provided at Back to School night. In Middle School, each cohort will follow the in-person daily schedule, but with classes meeting remotely and often following a similar format beginning with direct instruction, followed by breakout rooms or individual work before the class comes back together for discussion and assessment. Lower School classes will follow a similar format but with a slightly modified daily schedule. In Early Childhood, students will have live structured morning meetings, whole class and small group offerings focusing on activities that align with the academic and social-emotional learning curriculum, individual teacher check-ins and whole class or grade level experiences to celebrate holidays and more. Senior Kindergarten students will also have music, art, and physical education classes.
All School Moves to Distance Learning Mode
In the event that emerging health conditions prevent safe or productive operations, including absenteeism above 25%, based on guidance from IDPH/CDPH, or due to government mandate, Bernard Zell will move the entire school community to Distance Learning mode. For Early Childhood and Lower School, the day-to-day experience will be nearly identical to when a single cohort or grade moves to Distance Learning. In Middle School, each cohort will follow a simplified schedule, with each day beginning with Gibush, followed by four live classes per day (two in the morning and two in the afternoon), as well as two asynchronous experiences including the possibility of project-based learning, individual or group assignments or recorded lessons.
In the event Bernard Zell needs to shift to a distance learning model, the change can be executed seamlessly, without needing to pause instruction. Key schedule changes include:
Students will operate on a modified block schedule to facilitate grade-level teams, ensure the use of outdoor space is predictable and equitable and to facilitate a seamless move to distance learning mode, should that become necessary. Instead of having every subject nearly every day, a modified block schedule comprises fewer class periods, but each for a longer stretch of time. Some subjects will still be taught every day, others will alternate days. Both school gyms and the field will be used for P.E. and these spaces will be available for additional physical activity with the classroom teachers.
In order to accommodate teacher planning, we are shifting dismissal on Wednesdays to 2:45 p.m. Dismissal on Fridays will be at 2:45 p.m. all year, to allow for the preparation of Shabbat. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays dismissal will occur at 3:30 p.m.
Lunch will take place in Blum Hall for 1st - 8th grades. Two grades will eat at the same time, one on each side of Blum Hall, with students spaced 6 ft apart and facing the same direction. Kosher dietary laws will be maintained, all meals will continue to be nut-free and gluten-free and vegetarian options will be available. Click here for more information on lunch.
Bernard Zell Athletics will return this fall, taking on a similar look to what we have become accustomed to. All 7th and 8th grade athletics will return to form, including hosting and traveling for games, competitions, and tournaments. For the fall, this includes Girls Volleyball (indoor) and Co-Ed Soccer (outdoor). Covid-19 protocols are in place, and shared directly with parents from the Athletics Department. 6th grade soccer will not change, and will include an individual practice and game schedule. 6th grade volleyball will take on a new look and will resemble more of an intramural program. Rather than practice with 7th and 8th graders and participating in their games, 6th grade will stay on campus for all practices and scrimmages. Detailed practice and game schedules for each program, in addition to Covid-19 protocols and expectations, will be released from the Athletics department prior to the season beginning.
Fall: August 30 - October 29 - Soccer and Girls' Volleyball
Winter: November 3 - February 11 - Basketball
Spring: Mar 28 - June 8 - Track, Boys' Volleyball, Softball
Music offerings will be held in person, both outside of school hours and during the school with several concerts offered throughout the year. For both band & choir, additional COVID mitigation protocols will be in place, including 6 ft of social distancing, special masks for the student & instruments (band), and limited rehearsal or performance time to allow the air to fully change out between sessions.
The rehearsal schedule for this school year is:
5th and 6th Grade bands will meet during the school day.
Outside of the school day band options are:
Jazz Band, Grades 6-8: Monday 7:00 - 7:45 a.m.
Advanced Band, Grades 6-8: Wednesday 7:00 - 7:45 a.m.
Band, Grades 7-8: Friday 3:00-3:45 p.m.
The 4th Grade BZ Choir will meet Tuesday mornings from 7:45 - 8:15 a.m. The 4th Grade Choir will begin Tuesday, October 5.
The Middle School Choir for students in 5th - 8th Grades, will meet during Middle School recess. Tuesday afternoons for grades 5 and 6 and Friday recess for grades 7 and 8.
Both choirs will meet in person, in the Music Room, room 235.