Editorial 19/3/2020

Dear Parents,

Re: Coronavirus update

We write to you without yet knowing whether schools in England will close on Friday. We also do not yet know if any future closure means full closure or whether they will remain open to some students and staff. Once we get further clarification on this and have assessed the impact on the school community, we will let you know our response.

However, what we do know is that the number of students who are working from home is increasing.

To work effectively from home, students need to establish good routines from the outset:

  • Wake up at a reasonable time in the morning, get dressed, daven and have breakfast;
  • Eat at regular meal times;
  • Put aside phones when they are working, just as they would at school;
  • For the time being, use their regular school timetable as a guide to how much work should be attempted in each subject;
  • Build in time for more creative tasks such as art, music or cooking to get a reasonable balance of academic work and purposeful leisure time;
  • Exercise – the form this takes may depend on whether students can leave the house but there is plenty of exercise that can be performed indoors.

We are working on the use of a number of learning platforms such as Google Classroom and Zoom and have been taking soundings from schools in Hong Kong, as well as other Jewish and non-Jewish schools to learn about what works safely and what works best. Once we are satisfied that we have identified the best way to transform our online learning, we will send details to students and parents. Our plans will address not only the academic needs of students but their wellbeing more generally while they work from home.

In the meantime, for those students who are no longer in school in Years 8-10, Kodesh staff are using Moodle and Show My Homework in the same way as secular staff to set work. Despite severe staff shortages, we are continuing Kodesh and secular lessons for all students in school in Years 7 and 11-13.

Rabbi Golker reflects on his own period of self-isolation  as follows: “BH I am still symptom free and feeling fine. Such times are opportunities to bond with our children and model behaviour that will imbue our children will lessons for life. They may not remember every Possuk or daf Gemoro they learn but they will remember watching how you spoke, davened or bentched during this time. Having been on many Poland trips, I often feel that it is sometimes possible to teach a student in six days on a Poland trip what it normally takes six months to teach in a classroom. These times are no different.”

We would all like to thank our staff for their hard work, parents for their patience and understanding and students for coping so well in these uncertain times. ‘Social distancing’ does not stop a strong community like Hasmonean from being united.

With kind regards,

Mr A McClusky                                 Mrs D Lebrett                                                    Mrs K Brice

CEO, Hasmonean MAT           Headteacher                                                   Headteacher

Hasmonean Boys’ School       Hasmonean Girls’ School