Return to School 2021 Plan

Dear Hillel Community,
We are pleased to present Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit’s Return to School 2021 - 2022 Plan.
Our main objective for 2021 - 2022 remains to provide robust in-person instruction and to return to as typical an in-person instructional day as possible at all grade levels. The safety of our precious students, faculty, and community is at the forefront of our decision-making process, in consultation with governmental and medical professionals.
As you read through the many sections of this plan, I ask you to reflect deeply on the teachings of Rabbi Hillel, our school’s namesake, found in Pirkei Avot:   
אם אין אני לי, מי לי? וכשאני לעצמי, מה אני? ואם לא עכשיו, אימתי?
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me?  If I am only for myself, what am I?  
If not now, when?” 
These three rhetorical questions are not intended to be read independently, one from one another; rather, they are inseparably linked together. Taken together, they teach us to always be mindful of the fact that not only are we responsible for protecting our individual health and safety, but we are equally responsible for protecting everyone within our community, now and for all time. This lesson was the guiding spirit last year and remains so this coming school year.
Our incredible success at sustaining in-person instruction, at all grade levels, throughout the 2020-2021 school year was only possible because all of us (Board of Trustees, Leadership Team, faculty, staff, parents, and students) embodied the famous Talmudic teaching -
כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה / Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh BaZeh 
All of Israel is responsible for one another. 

We cared for each other. We watched out for each other. We took health and safety policies seriously so that learning never stopped at Hillel. No matter what the immediate future may hold with respect to COVID, I am confident that we will continue to be successful as long as we face it as one united kehillah (community).
We are excited about opening school for our 64th year, proud of how far we have come, and optimistic about where we are headed. May we continue to go from strength to strength.
Wishing you a restful and joyful Shabbat,
Dr. Darin S. Katz
Head of School

Guiding Principles

Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit delivers an outstanding general and Jewish education to Jewish children from early childhood through eighth grade. At Hillel, we inspire a passion for learning, responsibility to self and community, and devotion to Jewish living in a warm, innovative, and engaging environment.

As we plan for the 2021 - 2022 school year, our work is guided by the following principles:
  • The health and safety of all faculty, staff, and students remain paramount. Although we recognize that it is not possible to eliminate all risks, we strive to create the safest environment possible for staff and students to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
  • We will adhere to guidelines and requirements set forth by state and local public health officials. 
  • We are committed to academic excellence and providing continuous learning.
  • We will preserve the spiritual essence of Hillel, uphold our core Jewish values, and foster the life skills of creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration that prepare our students for their future.
  • We are committed to the social and emotional health of Hillel students and want them to come to school excited to learn.
  • We will maintain strong partnerships with parents, students, faculty, and staff.


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    • Students (by their parents) and staff will be required to complete a daily health screening questionnaire via the AITIA website ( If any questions are answered in the affirmative, the School Nurse will receive an alert about that student or employee. Further evaluation will be initiated by the School Nurse at that time. The daily entry survey will ask the following questions (questions may be adjusted to align with public health guidance as necessary):
    1. What is your temperature today?
    2. Have you had a fever in the last 7 days? (Yes/No)
    3. Are you currently experiencing any of the following symptoms? (Yes/No)
      1. Dry Cough
      2. Congestion or runny nose
      3. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      4. New or Unexplained Body Aches
      5. Fatigue/Muscle Weakness
      6. Sore Throat
      7. Diarrhea
      8. Nausea/Vomiting
      9. New Loss of Taste or Smell
    4. Have you been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or has exhibited symptoms of COVID-19? (Yes/No)
    5. Has anyone in your household been tested for COVID-19 and is awaiting results?
    • Parents and staff must complete the health screening each day by 7:45 a.m., for each enrolled child. The first text reminder will be sent at 7:00 a.m. Additional text reminders will be sent at 7:15 a.m. and 7:30 a.m only to parents and staff who have not yet completed the health screening.
    • Students and staff who do not have a completed health screening on file will not be allowed to enter the building.

    Quality supervision is of the utmost importance at Hillel. Until 7:55 a.m., we do not have the level of supervision that students require and deserve. Therefore, students are only allowed in the building after 7:55 a.m. 
    • ECC - 9:00 a.m.
    • ECC siblings of Gan - 8 students - 8:10 a.m.
    • Gan-Grade 8 - 7:55 a.m.-8:15 a.m.
    Each community of students has a designated door to enter the building. Students arriving after 8:15 a.m. must come through the main doors and retrieve a pass.

    • ECC - 3:00 p.m. (2:45 p.m. Wednesday)
    • Gan - 3:15 p.m (2:05 p.m. Wednesday)
    • Grades 1-4 - 3:25 p.m. (2:15 p.m. Wednesday)
    • Grades 5-8 - 3:35 p.m. (2:25 p.m. Wednesday)
    All students must be picked up on time unless they are in an adult-supervised after-school activity or program. Any ECC-4th-grade students not picked up on time will be sent to after-care at the parents’ expense. 

    Pick Up During School Hours
    If a student must be picked up from school during the day, he/she will wait in the nurse's office (if ill), or in the Main Office, as determined by our school nurse. Parents will park in the lot, don a mask, and come to the Main Door. A security officer will escort the child to the front door.

    If a child is sent home for COVID-related symptoms, the siblings of the said child may be sent home, as well.

    • Large-scale, indoor assemblies are suspended. 
    • Extracurricular activities may continue with the use of face masks at the school’s discretion.


  • In the event an entire class must quarantine due to a COVID exposure, the class will convene virtually as a group.
  • Remote instruction will be offered to an entire class of students who are mandated to quarantine due to a COVID exposure in school.
  • In the event a student is exposed outside of school and Hillel requires that student to quarantine, Hillel will determine how the student will continue learning during the said quarantine period. 
  • Hillel is not offering a Flexible option for students this year.
  • Hillel students who do not feel well or are on vacation will not be able to participate in school remotely. 

Maintaining a Healthy and Safe Building

Boo-ot / בועות

Boo-ah is Hebrew for bubble, and its use at Hillel this year defines the cohorts/pods we are creating to minimize contact as we follow recommendations from both the CDC and the Governor’s Road Map. 
  • In the ECC - 4th grade, the בועה/boo-ah will be an individual class that stays intact throughout the school day.
  • In 5th - 8th grades, students are variously grouped for Ivrit and/or Math, so the בועה/boo-ah is considered to be the entire grade, as students from multiple classes will mix for those subjects.

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    • All staff are required to wear a mask at all times during the school day except for meals.
    • ECC2 - grade 8 students will be required to wear a face mask at all times during the school day, with the exception of lunch. Students may be required to wear a mask at recess at the school’s discretion. Teachers will also give students (and themselves) individual mask breaks at other times during the day as necessary. 
    • Because mask fit is critically important for safety purposes, all families must procure multi-layered masks for students to assure comfort level and fit. Masks that have an exhalation valve are not permitted as they do not protect against transmission of the coronavirus.
    • Hillel will maintain an ample supply of disposable masks in the event that additional masks may be required.


    • Student desks and chairs in Gan - 8th grade will be spaced approximately 3 feet apart in the classrooms.

    • We will teach and reinforce proper handwashing techniques using soap and water for at least 20 seconds and/or the safe use of hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. 
    • Signage will be posted prominently in all classrooms and bathrooms to reinforce proper handwashing techniques.
    • Students and staff will wash their hands or use hand sanitizer regularly throughout the day.
    • We will limit the use of common classroom materials.
    • Students will be encouraged to bring in a refillable water bottle to use at refill stations. They may not use water fountains.

    • Hillel’s HVAC system is similar to those found in hospitals. The HVAC coils are disinfected at each filter change (three times a year) with Evap-Fresh, a product listed on the EPA’s registered Antimicrobial Products for use against novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). 
    • We have installed MERV-13 filters in our HVAC system that capture 90% of particles circulating in the air. 
    • The units bring in at least 20% outdoor air, depending on room size, with each pass. The outdoor air enters the unit, is cleaned by the filters, and released into the conditioned space. 
    • We also have negative pressure that removes air from each room in order to pull any potential contaminants out of an area and is exhausted to the outside air. This helps reduce cross-contamination from room to room. 
    • We will rely on this system rather than opening windows, which would be inefficient and could actually inhibit providing clean air throughout the building.

    • Frequently-touched surfaces including light switches, doors, benches, and bathrooms, will undergo cleaning at least every four hours with an EPA-approved disinfectant.
    • Jan-Pro, a commercial cleaning service, has been retained as our new cleaning company for this school year. Our contract includes an on-site day porter whose work will be solely dedicated to continuous cleaning of bathrooms and frequently-contacted surfaces throughout the school day.
    • Student desks will be cleaned with an EPA-approved disinfectant

    • All adult guests and volunteers preparing to enter the building must be vaccinated and will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and wash/sanitize hands prior to entering. Masks are required for all guests.
    • Strict records, including date and time, will be kept of all visitors entering and exiting the building.

Maintaining Health and Safety for Our Community

List of 5 items.


    • Gail Chynoweth, R.N., Hillel’s nurse, will be in the building Mondays through Fridays.
    • The nurse’s office will be Conference Room A (adjacent to the Main Lobby). 
    • Sick students will be triaged, and when necessary, sent home and/or for COVID testing. 

    • Hillel will cooperate with and be guided by the Oakland County Public Health Department regarding implementing protocols for screening students and staff for COVID-19.
    • Students who develop a fever or become ill with COVID-19 symptoms at school will be immediately quarantined and wait for their parent or guardian in a designated isolation room specifically for COVID-19 symptomatic students. 
    • Staff who develop a fever or become ill with COVID-19 symptoms at school will be asked to immediately leave the building and seek medical care/advice.
    • Symptomatic students and staff sent home from school will remain home until they have tested negative for COVID-19, or have received clearance to return to school by their doctor.
    • If a family member receives positive test results for COVID-19, the family must immediately notify Gail Chynoweth or Dr. Darin Katz so the school can begin contract tracing protocols.
    • Families will be notified of any laboratory-positive or clinically diagnosed case of COVID-19 in the affected learning community -- with confidentiality of the diagnosed person protected -- with further instructions provided.
    • In the event of a laboratory-positive or clinically-diagnosed case of COVID-19, our contact tracing team will make best efforts to notify those potentially affected. Instructions for quarantining at home, further testing, or other protocols, will be provided. 

    • Hillel will work with the Oakland County Public Health Department if a confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified within the school population. Hillel will reach out to any individual who is presumed to have come into direct contact with the infected individual from two days before that person first showed symptoms to the time when he or she was last present at school. 
    • Hillel will notify local health officials immediately of any possible case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other applicable federal and state privacy laws. 
    • Employees with a confirmed case of COVID-19 are instructed to return to the workplace only after they are no longer contagious. Local health officials will provide instruction about return to work, using the most current guidelines from the CDC for this determination.
    • If a student tests positive, they need to immediately quarantine and only return to school on the date given by the school.
    • If a parent or a sibling tests positive for COVID-19, the Hillel student will need to be tested and follow the required quarantine period.
    • To maintain a healthy school environment, at Hillel’s discretion based on community COVID activity, Hillel may require school wide or community-specific testing.
    • If a parent tests positive for COVID-19, their children will need to be tested, follow the required quarantine.

    • All Hillel employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 except employees who have a documented, underlying medical condition or disability that contraindicates administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Students are strongly encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as they become eligible.

    • Unvaccinated individuals - Individuals who were within 3 feet (in the classroom) of the positive individual for a total of 15 minutes, will quarantine for 10 days with a negative COVID test. 
    • Vaccinated individuals - Fully vaccinated close contacts should be referred for COVID-19 testing. If asymptomatic, fully vaccinated close contacts do not need to quarantine at home following an exposure. In addition to correctly wearing masks in school, they should wear a mask in other indoor public settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.

Lunch and Recess

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    • Hillel will continue to offer a hot lunch program
      • School-supplied lunches will be delivered to each classroom in disposable containers with disposable utensils.
    • Masks will be removed by students and staff while eating lunch. Face shields will be required to be worn when eating in the classroom.

    • Recess will take place outside, weather permitting.
    • Each grade will have a designated recess area to promote physical distancing among grades when multiple grades are outside at the same time. 
    • Students will participate in Playworks, a thoughtful approach to recess which promotes valuable social and emotional skills through play.  Students will learn to problem solve on their own while having fun with their peers.
    • At the school’s discretion, students may be required to wear a mask at recess.
    • Students may choose to wear a mask at recess at the family’s discretion.
    • We will continually use Oakland County virus transmission data and the recommendations of our medical advisors to inform our recess policies.
    • If recess is indoors, students will wear masks and remain with their boo-ah.


The Athletic Department intends to provide a positive experience for our student-athletes that allows them to participate in their chosen sport safely. Hillel will consider all guidance published by MHSAA (Michigan High School Athletic Association), local organizations & the OCHD (Oakland County Health Department).

We will be offering boys’ tennis (grades 5-8), boys’ soccer (grades 6-8), coed cross country (grades 5-8), and girls’ volleyball (grades 5-8). 

Athletic offerings may change at any time should we feel our student athletes can no longer participate safely.

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    Student-athletes are required to have an updated health appraisal form completed, dated after April 15, 2021.  

    In the event that transportation by personal vehicle is needed, we request that all passengers & the driver are masked.

    • Buses must be cleaned and disinfected before and after every use.
    • Hand sanitizer must be used before entering the bus and supplied on the bus. 
    • Masks are to be worn by all riders and the driver while on the bus. 
    • Weather permitting, the windows should be kept open while the vehicle is in motion to help reduce spread of the virus by increasing air circulation, if appropriate and safe. 
    • Riders will be spaced as much as possible. 

    Safety protocols will be in place for athletes, coaches, and competitors, including but not limited to:
    • Athletes who are not feeling well will be asked to not attend athletic events. 
    • Proper hand hygiene must take place before and after every athletic event. 
    • Hand sanitizer will be available at every athletic event. 
    • Athletes will be required to have their own clearly-marked water bottle.

    • When allowed to be present, spectators must promote a positive environment demonstrating positive derekh eretz for athletes, coaches, officials and other spectators. 
    • For the fall 2021 season, spectators will not be allowed in the building. Therefore there will be no spectators for girls volleyball.

Community Responsibility

Every member of the Hillel community must do their part to observe appropriate risk mitigation precautions, including maintaining physical distancing, consistently wearing masks, and ensuring that we all report any symptoms of illness or potential virus exposure.


The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is known to be highly contagious and is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person contact. As a result, federal, state, and local governments and health agencies recommend physical distancing and additional measures to limit the spread of this virus and have continued to recommend limiting large gatherings. 

Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit ("Hillel") has put in place significant preventative measures, in accordance with and in excess of local guidelines, to reduce the spread of COVID-19; however, given, among other things, the long incubation period of COVID-19 and the fact that many infected people are asymptomatic, Hillel cannot guarantee that you or your child(ren) will not become infected with COVID-19 or convey it to others. Despite our preventative efforts, participation in in-person learning or visiting the Hillel campus may result in infection.

It is important that parents who choose to send their children to Hillel for in-person learning and/or to participate in an event or program or to visit understand:
  • the contagious nature of COVID-19 and the risks, known or unknown, that their child(ren), other family members, and themselves may be exposed to or infected by the coronavirus by their child(ren) attending Hillel
  • that such exposure or infection, if it occurs, could result in personal injury, illness, permanent disability, and/or death
  • that attendance at Hillel is wholly voluntary
  • that the risk of becoming exposed to or infected by COVID-19 at Hillel may result from the actions, omissions, or negligence of others, potentially including Hillel employees, volunteers, and program participants and their families
  • that neither Hillel nor any such other persons are providing any representation, warranty, or guarantee of their expertise or of the efficacy of any measures to reduce or prevent the spread of COVID-19 
All Hillel families are expected to abide by the procedures established by Hillel that are set forth herein with the goal of protecting our students, families, and staff, including but not limited to the drop-off and pick-up procedures, maintaining physical distancing and the wearing of face masks. Parents and caregivers must not bring children to Hillel if the child(ren) or other family members have a fever or are showing any of the potential signs of COVID-19, have tested positive for COVID-19, been exposed to an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, or have symptoms of any communicable illness, until after such child(ren) and/or family member(s) have been cleared by a health care provider with an alternate diagnosis or completed the self-isolation recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control.


I acknowledge that I have received a copy of the Hillel Day School COVID-19 Handbook for the 2021 – 2022 school year. On behalf of myself and each of my children who attend Hillel, I have read, I understand and I/we agree to adhere to the policies contained in it. 



Leadership Team
  • Medical Advisors - Dr. Miriam Levine, Dr. Graham Krasan, Dr. Brian Gendelman
  • Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia Policy Lab
  • Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS)
  • National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)

List of 6 items.

  • isacs

  • ism

  • jewish federation

  • naeyc

  • nais

  • prizmah

Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit
32200 Middlebelt Road | Farmington Hills, MI 48334