Dear Emery/Weiner Community,
Last spring, I spoke at Emery’s Commencement about the relief & value of taking off our personal masks. Unfortunately, that was then & this is now — and the now is very different. Given the severe spike in COVID cases caused by the highly-infectious Delta variant — and the dramatic increase of not only infections, but of hospitalizations, which includes an increasing number of pediatric cases — our Medical Advisory Panel (MAP) has recommended that Emery/Weiner require everyone to wear masks indoors for the time-being. This recommendation is in keeping with that from the CDC & AAP, and has been approved by the Executive Committee of the EWS Board of Trustees.
I know that many of you may be disappointed by this news. I understand. However, I’d like to share a few thoughts:
First, we expect (and certainly hope) that this policy will be temporary. Our MAP believes that relatively soon, the infection rate will diminish to the point that the School can safely adopt a more lenient approach. The decision-making criteria for relaxing our protocols will be local data, in tandem with Emery/Weiner-specific information, such as vaccination rates.
Second, in terms of vaccinations, currently we are not requiring students or staff be vaccinated; however, we are strongly encouraging it for every member of our community who is eligible. This is the most effective way to mitigate the virus and its harmful effects. Hopefully, children under age 12 will be eligible later this semester.
Third, notwithstanding the relative inconvenience of having to wear masks while indoors, we are committed to resuming the full-blown Emery experience. For example, we will have assemblies in the Becker Theater again, including Opening Ceremony. And we are planning to travel again — despite the delay of fall Shabbatonim. From athletics and arts, to clubs, Kallah, Ma’amad, Torah services, holiday celebrations & even the JOE Dinner, we expect life on Stella Link this year to look very much like it did pre-pandemic. Providing these things to our students & families is incredibly important -- we just want to do so safely.
Finally, below is more detailed information related to our campus protocols. Please review and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. We look forward to seeing your kids on campus next Tuesday & having a great year together.