Gann Academy is looking forward to welcoming students, faculty, and staff back to our Forest Street campus for in-person learning this fall. School leadership has worked with many experts within the fields of education and our medical advisory team with the goal of creating the safest learning environment possible.
As part of the comprehensive planning process, Gann has partnered with many of the Jewish Day Schools in Greater Boston as well as a number of peer independent and public high schools. Throughout our plans, we continue to pay close attention to guidelines from the CDC, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Waltham Board of Health to ensure that we are adhering to best practices as delineated by those entities.
Prioritizing health and safety for members of our community
Leaning into our Jewish values, wisdom, rituals, and community
Continuing to focus on academic growth and access for all students
Supporting the social-emotional wellbeing of children and maintaining relationships as a key factor of learning
Developing schedules, systems, and policies that are simple, flexible, and easily able to pivot
Staying committed to our support of students with learning differences and to diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community
Continuously improving our program
Allowing families to make choices about remote and in-person learning
Making reasonable accommodations for employees with documented health concerns
Communicating clearly and consistently to all stakeholders
Gann's Medical Advisory Team
List of 5 items.
Dr. Michael Agus
Boston Children’s Hospital
Dr. Michael Klompas
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Dr. Camille Kotton
Massachusetts General Hospital
Dr. Benjy Raby
Boston Children's Hospital
Dr. Avi Spira
Boston Medical Center
Wednesday, August 19| 7:00–9:00 p.m. | Reopening Gann Virtual Town Hall
Monday, August 24 | Grades 10 and 11 only
Tuesday, August 25 | Grades 9 and 12 only
Wednesday, August 26 | All grades in Waltham
Thursday, August 27 | All grades in Waltham
Friday, August 28 | Virtual Hakhel, Assembly, and Advisory (all grades virtual)
Monday, August 31 | Regular schedule begins
Friday, September 4 | Remote school day
Monday, September 7 | School closed for Labor Day
Please find the most up-to-date communications about reopening Gann in the "Gann Communications" tab on the "Resources" page in your MyGann account.
We are currently in the process of finalizing the daily schedule in a manner that balances health and safety within an effective learning environment. This schedule strives to have students fully on-campus whenever possible and is also designed so it can be used in a hybrid (some portion of students not on campus) and a fully remote manner. Details will be coming out soon; please be sure to attend the Town Hall on August 5 to learn more.
Each grade level will operate in a self-contained cohort throughout the year. Class size will also be reduced to maximize the space between students in each classroom. Interactions between grades and cohorts will be limited in order to reduce interactions and exposure. We are also working to cohort faculty at each grade level in order to further protect each member of our community. Non-teaching staff will work remotely for much of the week in order to reduce density in the building.
A core principle of our planning is to remain flexible in the event that conditions change and require us to pivot to alternative plans. Gann leadership, faculty, and staff will work continuously to develop plans in preparation for that possibility.
Gann has made a number of enhancements around campus to prepare for the return of students, faculty, and staff.
In order to reduce density and avoid “bottlenecking” at the beginning and end of each day, students will be asked to arrive and leave the school in a staggered fashion. More information about that staggering will be forthcoming as we receive transportation guidance from the state. Additionally, each grade level will be assigned to a separate entrance “zone” to the building, where they will be checked in at the beginning of the day.
To enhance safe movement around campus and promote social distancing, Gann will create directional lanes and enforce one-way foot traffic along certain corridors. We also will create distance between chairs in seating areas, and we will make use of plexiglass dividers where appropriate. Gann has purchased individual desks for students and will no longer use group tables in classrooms. Large spaces such as the Beit Midrash and Servery will be repurposed. Numerous sanitisation stations have been installed throughout campus. We are also purchasing some outdoor shades and canopies, and will encourage students and faculty to utilize those spaces and other areas of our beautiful campus when the weather permits.
Gann is committed to nightly cleaning and disinfection of the entire school as well as periodic cleaning and disinfection of high-traffic areas during school hours. High-traffic areas include door handles and hardware, railings and classroom tables/desks. In addition, we will clean and disinfect all restroom door handles, toilets, sinks and vanities multiple times per day. Classrooms will be stocked with cleaning supplies for teachers and students to clean/disinfect surfaces as needed. In addition, as classes will all happen remotely on Fridays, Gann’s facilities team will use that time for a weekly deep-clean of the building.
We are working to finalize and present a plan for transportation. As we receive guidance from the state, we will tailor it to the needs of the Gann community, and will share that information at one of our upcoming Town Hall meetings.
Gann has evaluated its ventilation and filtration system and has upgraded the HVAC system accordingly. In addition to filtering the indoor air, we are planning to hold all classes in spaces where windows can open.
Health and Safety
The well-being, health, and safety of our students, faculty, and staff are Gann’s first priority.
Students, faculty, and staff will be required to wear masks throughout the entire day, as we have been advised that this is the best way to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Gann is currently researching options for face shields. Students and faculty will be able to take periodic “mask breaks” outdoors throughout the day.
All community members will be required to complete a daily health attestation before coming to campus through the MedBot app. Students, faculty, and staff will be asked to stay home when they are not feeling well.
“Kol yisrael areivim zeh-la-zeh.” A core Jewish principle is that each of us is responsible for the well-being of the others in our community. In order to protect our students, faculty, staff, and their families, each member of the Gann community is asked to weigh their individual choices against the risks they may pose for others. In collaboration with the other Jewish day schools in Greater Boston, we will be developing a “social contract” that lays out some of the ways we can protect the others in our schools.
Gann has created a COVID-19 response team to follow protocol in the event of a positive case. This team includes medical experts as well as members of the school leadership team. We recognize that a key component of effective response is effective communication, and we will work to keep all stakeholders informed if and when a case arises.
Gann prides itself in providing a number of activities outside of the traditional classroom environment.
The week of August 24-28 will involve a required orientation program for all students to include wellbeing programming, Jewish life programming, hiking, social-emotional support, and social opportunities. Students will begin the week in a staggered fashion in order to phase our community back into our space.
Gann is working with experts from the Resilience Project at Newton-Wellesley Hospital to provide support for members of the community. Gann students will also continue working with Gann faculty and staff, especially their advisors and deans, to attend to their emotional and psychological health in this difficult and complex time.
Physical fitness, well-being, and the manifold benefits that students gain from team sports are a priority for Gann. We are waiting for guidance from the state and the Massachusetts Bay Independent League in order to develop safe and effective athletic and wellness programs for our students. We expect to share that information at an upcoming Town Hall.
Gann students love their after school activities! Because many of those opportunities are inter-grade, we are working on developing safe ways for students to continue their work in those extra-curricular clubs and activities.
Although we are pleased to have planned for in-person learning this fall, and to see all of our students, faculty, and staff back on campus, we know that school will not be “business as usual.” We appreciate your flexibility, understanding, and support during this unprecedented time. Families with students in grades 9 & 10 may contact Wendy Falchuk, Assistant Head of School for Enrollment Management and Student Success with any questions. Families with students in grades 11 & 12 may contact Lily Rabinoff-Goldman, Interim Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning with any questions.
We encourage you to visit this site as updates and important information will be posted regularly as the plan evolves and we approach the start of the school year.