The Davis Academy reported Feb. 24 that there were “no new student or faculty” cases of COVID-19 at the K-8 school, which is recovering from an outbreak of the coronavirus that required briefly suspending school and then forced schedule changes.
In her Feb. 24 notice to Davis Academy families, Head of School Amy Shafron wrote that “we look forward to a ‘fresh start’ for all of our students,” when all are back on campus beginning Monday.
Shafron echoed that sentiment in a Feb. 26 notice, writing: “As we wish continued Refuah Shlema (prayers for healing) to those who are ill in our kehillah with COVID-19, and as this time of Distance Learning culminates, we begin to anticipate the joy of a safe and healthy return to campus for all our students and faculty. Earlier in the week our youngest students exuberantly returned to campus with massive amounts of books, papers, and supplies, bounding into school with big masked smiles and welcomed energy. We cannot wait to welcome the remainder of our students and faculty on Monday.”
The Reform Jewish day school was struck in February by a COVID-19 outbreak that particularly affected students in a middle-school cohort and a first-grade cohort.
When roughly 20 percent of the faculty were sidelined, either by testing positive or when protectively quarantining, all students were sent home for distance learning Feb. 17-19, because “ . . . we simply do not have enough teachers who will be in school this week to provide enough instruction and coverage to ensure a safe, in-person learning environment,” according to a Feb. 15 notice to families.
Students in third through eighth grades remained home the week of Feb. 22, while students in lower grades returned to campus, except for those with a sibling in middle school, who studied from home.
In the Feb. 24 notice, Shafron said, “While we are comforted to know cases are on the decline, there is more work to be done to keep us headed in the right direction.”
Families were informed of updated guidelines on how student cohorts will transition to distance learning should a student or teacher test positive; when and for how long not only students who test positive, but also family members, must quarantine; the opportunity for families to use the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test to permit students to return to school sooner; implementation of an online dashboard to inform families about COVID-19 cases among students, teachers and staff; and a commitment to provide an on-site vaccination clinic for faculty and staff when permitted by the state. Gov. Brian Kemp announced Feb. 25 that teachers and staff in public and private K-12 schools, pre-K programs and daycare centers would be eligible to receive vaccinations beginning March 8.
Notices sent to Davis Academy families earlier in February suggested that some parents had not been truthful in reporting exposure to COVID-19 or in following the school’s protocols to prevent exposure and spread of the virus.
The Feb. 24 notice said: “We continue to ask, at least temporarily, that social and extracurricular activities be limited. We recognize that some may believe that outdoor activities, for example, while distancing and mask-wearing with a limited number of friends in a student’s cohort may be ‘safe’, while others believe that dinner with only one friend or one other family is ‘safe’. Our best interest is what is the safest for your children and families, and our faculty and staff. Ultimately, we request that all choices made be held to at least the same standard as we have communicated and as we practice at school: consistent mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing.”
Davis Academy has not responded to requests by the AJT for comment or additional information.
The AJT continues to seek comment and additional information from The Davis Academy.