The umbrella body representing Jewish schools in the UK has said it will be “exception- ally complex” to manage children’s return in the coming weeks, writes Stephen Oryszczuk.
Acknowledging the logistic and medical challenges posed by a return to classrooms after two months’ under coronavirus lockdown, Partnerships for Jewish Schools (PaJeS) said it was working hard to put support systems in place.
“The challenges facing our school leaders at this time are unprecedented,” said PaJeS Executive Director, Rabbi David Meyer.
“They have to consider the health and well-being of students and staff, as well as endeavouring to deliver school-based and remote learning programmes.” Dr Mark Berelowitz, a senior child and adolescent psychiatrist at London’s Royal Free Hospital, is to help in the transition by supporting Jewish schools’ headteachers, whose “professionalism and dedication” were this week praised by Meyer.
The organisation, which is a division of the Jewish Leadership Council, said it had been a tough time for “cooped up and isolated” children as well as for their parents, many of whom have had to work around them from home.
“This is an exceptionally challenging time,” said PaJeS. “In addition to the complexities of delivering remote learning programmes, school leaders must now consider how to manage a return to school with exceptionally complex logistical and educational implications.”
Some children will have faced family financial hardship, suffered bereavement, or have lived in difficult circumstances during lockdown, the organisation said, while others will have enjoyed the past weeks.
“Whatever the experience, adjusting back into a school routine will not be easy,” cautioned education chiefs.