School’s plans for the immediate future will heavily depend on staff member’s test results.
UPDATE (11/2/20): The Farber staffer has tested negative for COVID-19 and the school has reopened.
Farber Hebrew Day School in Southfield has temporarily closed its entire building after a staff member who interacts with all K-12 students was exposed to a family member who tested positive for COVID-19.
Farber was informed of this late Thursday afternoon, and sent the staff member to be tested. Farber is hoping to have the staff member’s test results by Sunday.
In a Thursday letter to Farber families, Head of School Dr. Josh Levisohn and president and Farber parent Dr. Ora Singer stated that the staff member is not showing any symptoms and feeling healthy, but as per protocol, the staff member will be quarantined for the next 14 days.
The school had previously been open for a hybrid model including in-person learning, but out of an abundance of caution, on Friday, Farber deep-cleaned the school and kept all students and staff home.
Instead, virtual classes are being held for 3rd-12th grade students, and the Early Childhood grade classes are canceled.
“Staff members wear a face mask while in the school building and try to maintain distance from the students as much as possible. Because of that, we believe that there is only a low risk of exposure for any students or other staff,” Levisohn and Singer wrote in their letter. “Our concern for the safety of our community is paramount and we will follow our medical and safety guidelines to maintain everyone’s good health.”
Farber is currently consulting with their medical team about this particular case and conducting contact tracing while they await the results of the staff member’s test.
If the staff member’s test result is negative, they will remain in quarantine but school will resume as usual on Monday, Nov. 2. If the staffer’s test result is positive, Farber will follow medical and public health advice which “may include the need to keep the K-12 virtual for a period of time,” according to the letter.
“Our first concern is everyone’s health and safety, so that’s always what we’re going to pay attention to first,” Levisohn tells the JN. “For every situation we have protocols and guidelines which lay out the path we’re supposed to take depending on what happens, but every situation is different and unique, and we also have to make sure to adapt to that unique situation.
“We wouldn’t always close just because someone is exposed to someone with COVID, but in this case, given how much this person works throughout the building, we’re being cautious and are waiting for the results of the test and information from public health officials about how to proceed,” Levisohn continued.
“We know that situations like this can be very disruptive to you, our children, and our faculty,” the Farber letter read. “We thank you for your patience, understanding, and support as we work together to maintain everyone’s health. We will continue to keep you informed as much as possible.”
Farber had previously delayed the start of its school year and revised its initial classroom model to respond to the changing COVID-19 situation.