COVID-19 Updates

June 25, 2020 | 3 Tamuz 5780 

Dear Barrack Community, 

I hope your summer is off to a healthy, safe and relaxing start.  I want you to know we are all focusing on the reopening of school, which is an ongoing process that involves a great deal of scenario planning, adaptability and flexibility.  Plans for the potential reopening of our buildings, as well as planning for in-school, online or hybrid academic scenarios are underway. As Head of School, I am leading our Senior Administration Oversight Committee, and will serve on each Task Force described below.  

Planning our campus reopening will be a complex process that will include administrators, members of faculty and staff as well as outside experts, as needed. Guided by our organizational involvements in NAIS, PAIS, ADVIS, PRIZMAH and our coalition of Jewish Day Schools in the Greater Philadelphia area, we are working with local public and independent schools as well as medical experts to formulate a safe, efficient and effective fall reopening plan.

At present, our plan is to start classes on September 8, 2020. We also are reserving the possibility of opening one week earlier on August 31, which may allow us to maximize time together based on local, regional and national guidelines for schools.  Any changes or adjustments will be guided by our school's mission and values, and informed by data provided by government agencies. 

Our 2020-21 Senior Administration Oversight Committee, consisting of my Senior Administrative Team,  will lead the strategic planning effort for the fall academic year and drive our decision making process:
  • Justin Cooper, Upper School Dean of Students/Athletic Director 
  • Christine Farrell, Middle School Director 
  • Jennifer Groen, Assistant Head of School for Strategy
  • Rabbi Judd Kruger Levingston, Director of Jewish Studies 
  • Thomas McLaughlin, Upper School Academic Dean  
  • Alex Stroker, Chief Operating and Development Officer 
  • Rebecca Trajtenberg, Dean of College Counseling and Academic Advising
This Committee will oversee the following Task Forces:
  1.  Reopening Logistics (RL) Task Force, which includes the following areas:
    • Health and safety
    • Physical plant and facilities
    • Communicating with government agencies  
    • Security
    • Transportation
    • Athletics 
    • Communications
  1. Financial Planning and Sustainability  (FPS) Task Force, which includes the following areas:
    • Enrollment management and strategy
    • Institutional Advancement 
    • Budget management
    • Tuition assistance
    • Legal issues and risk management
  1. Academic Excellence (AE) Task Force, which includes the following areas:
    • Curricular decisions
    • Scenario planning
    • Scheduling
    • Educational innovation 
    • Professional development 
    • Co-curricular activities 
  1. Spiritual, Social and Emotional Learning  (SSEL) Task Force, which includes the following areas:
    • Community building
    • Jewish life
    • Diversity, equity and inclusion
    • Derech Eretz
    • Health and wellness 
    • Family support

Our Task Forces, many of which have been working for months, are populated by staff members and outside experts, and will now be joined by teachers, who have just completed their instructional responsibilities. I share a deep sense of humility and gratitude for the strong team we have in place that will steward our school towards reopening this fall. 

These are challenging, complex times and we thank you for your continued trust.  I look forward to communicating with you again in the next few weeks.



Sharon P. Levin
Head of School