Needs and Responses

Day Schools

Needs

Operating Online, Rather Than in Person

  • Challenges of transitioning from on-site to online learning: the need for equipment/technology infrastructure/IT support for teachers and students, particularly low-income students; new training for teachers
  • Not all programs/services can be offered online. Quality of service negatively impacted.

Personnel Issues

  • Some schools have had to lay off staff.
  • Many teachers/staff distracted by child-care needs.
  • Potential for health issues to make teachers/staff unavailable or in need of sick days.

Special Needs of Small and Already Vulnerable Day Schools

As the Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA) notes in a March 25 document on Business Continuity Issues for Major Jewish Communal Networks, “the roughly 300 schools in the Prizmah network (non-Haredi schools) divide into three roughly equal segments – large, intermediate, and small schools. The large schools that have significant resources and access to donors who are very connected to the schools are likely to weather the storm. Most at risk are small schools in small Jewish communities that have few cash reserves and excess capacity. The middle pool of schools will vary in their ability to manage…. It is worth noting that there are a significant number of small day schools that have been teetering before this crisis and will likely fail during the current situation. There are between 15-25 schools (5-8% of their network) that Prizmah has identified as being in more significant distress.”

Expected Declines in Enrollment and Tuition Revenues

  • As JFNA notes in a July report, “there are increasing concerns around future enrollment, particularly for lower grades and, most of all, in early childhood programs, where online learning is difficult at best. The outlook for enrollment remains fluid; schools report that families are reluctant to sign enrollment contracts, hedging in case school continues to be virtual in the fall or if it appears likely that further lockdowns will disrupt the coming year. Projected revenues are therefore uncertain due to the combination of enrollment
    risks and likely demands for tuition credit if there are extended periods of virtual learning. On the other hand, costs are at best fixed no matter whether school is in person or virtual, with increased costs expected for PPE and the cleaning of facilities. Schools may also face increased per student costs because of reduced class sizes and to enhance remote support. 
  • According to JFNA, Prizmah (an umbrella organization for non-haredi Jewish schools in North America) is estimating an enrollment drop of at least 5% in its network, experienced unevenly – less in Modern Orthodox day schools; more in non-Orthodox schools – paralleling recent trends.

Increase in Financial Aid Requests

In its July report, JFNA notes that “many schools are experiencing a growing demand for tuition assistance, with significant numbers of families experiencing loss of jobs and reduced incomes or fearin  increased financial insecurity.”

While various initiatives to increase access to tuition assistance “have addressed a portion of the increased need,” they are “a long way from meeting the reported requests faced by schools.”

Decline in Fundraising Revenues

  • Schools have already experienced a decline in fundraising revenue, and the decline is expected to be much greater in the next year.
  • According to JFNA’s report, fundraising typically represents 14% of a school’s revenue

Ongoing Uncertainty Will Stretch Even the Best-Resourced Schools

As JFNA observes in its July report, “If the upcoming school year proves to be as uncertain and disrupted as many fear, the loss of revenue,
combined with increased costs, will stretch even the best resourced schools. The squeeze may make it harder to meet families’ tuition assistance needs, which, combined with a reduced willingness to pay tuition for online education, could create a vicious cycle for a significant proportion of schools, destabilizing many more schools than current projections suggest.”

For more on the challenges facing Jewish day schools, see Prizmah’s March 25 webinar: “Financial and Legal Issues Facing Day Schools in Light of COVID-19”

Responses

JFNA suggests that day schools “may be decent candidates for business continuity loans to help them weather the short-term situation as a new program year may provide sources of repayment through tuition and fundraising revenues, and they may have access to unique donor relationships that can ultimately help with repayment.”

Some federations are offering emergency funding to Jewish day schools in their communities to pay for remote learning needs.

On April 20, the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) launched the more than $80 million Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF), supported by a seven foundations, including the Aviv Foundation, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, the Jim Joseph Foundation, Maimonides Fund, the Paul E. Singer Foundation, and the Wilf Family Foundation, which will operate in coordination with the JFNA. The invite-only program will be divided in two, with a loan program based at the Nonprofit Finance Fund, providing payroll and basic operational assistance for non-profits in the coming months.

In July, JCRIF announced it had made $10 million in grants to  more than 20 Jewish organizations — among them Prizmah, the network of non-haredi Jewish day schools —  as well as $20 million in no-interest loans, with $20 million more in loans under consideration.  More details about JCRIF, including a JFN webinar, here.

Watch JFN’s video series on day schools and Covid-19 below or here:

Resources

NYC Health Dept. Forces Yeshivas in Queens, Brooklyn to Close Due to Covid-19

Description - News Article

Source - NY Jewish Week
September 24

European Jewish Community Day School Crisis Fund Announces $2.7 Million in Grants to 13 Schools

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
September 22

Eyeing Rosh Hashanah as a Virus Tipping Point, 26 Jewish Schools Unite to Exhort Families to Play it Safe

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
September 17

Brazilian Jewish Schools Raise $4 Million in Donations for Scholarships

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
September 17

Professional Talent in the Jewish Nonprofit Sector and Covid-19

Date and time - Thursday, October 1
12-1 pm ET (7-8 pm Israel)

Source - JFN webinar

COVID Closures and Quarantines Already Widespread at New York-Area Jewish Day Schools

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
September 14

Jewish Day Schools Open for the Year with New Safety Precautions and Plans for Possible Closures

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
September 10

Amid Layoffs and Funder Bailouts, the Jewish Nonprofit World Is Fearing 2021

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Insider
September 9

Covid-19 Resources for Day Schools

Description - Resource page

Source - Prizmah
Frequently updated

Has Remote Learning Set Back Jewish Day School Students?

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
September 4

Real Learning: How Jewish Day Schools Are Starting This School Year

Real Learning: How Jewish Day Schools Are Starting This School Year

Source - JFN Webinar
September 2

UJA-Federation of NY Adds $6.6 Million in Covid Relief

Description - News Article

Source - New York Jewish Week
August 31

The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Been Buffeting American Jewry for Months. What Lies Ahead?

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
September 1

New Data Reveals That With Support, Jewish Day Schools Thrive

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
September 1

Help Us Measure Jewish Giving During Covid

Help Us Measure Jewish Giving During Covid

What’s Going on in Jewish Education? Answers from Leaders in the Field

Description - Report

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
August 13

Lessons Learned from Schools’ Responses to COVID-19

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
August 18

Running a Jewish Day School Just Got a Lot More Expensive — and Parents Shouldn’t Be the Only Ones Paying the Price

Description - Op-Ed

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
August 17

Back to Business: Guide for Reopening Jewish Institutions

Back to Business: Guide for Reopening Jewish Institutions

Source - Secure Community Network (Convened by Jewish Federations of North America & Conference of Presidents)
July

A Rabbi and Dad Is Starting an Online Jewish Day School to Help Families Get Through the Pandemic

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
August 3

We Run Jewish Day Schools in NY. To Reopen Safely, We Need our Community’s Support.

Description - Op-Ed

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
August 4

Planning Reopenings Amid Pandemic, Jewish Institutions Navigate Minefield of Challenges

Description - Article (Sponsored by JFNA)

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
August 3

Are Families Fleeing Jewish Day Schools? Far from It, but It’s Complicated.

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
July 28

COVID-19 Is Imperiling the Jewish Day School

Description - Article

Source - Tablet
July 21

Religious Groups and Schools Got the Most PPP Loans

Description - News Article

Source - Chronicle of Philanthropy
July 21

Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF) Awards $10 Million to 20+ Jewish Organizations

Description - Announcement

Source - Jewish Community Response & Impact Fund
July 20

Jewish Day Schools Still Don’t Know if They’ll Reopen in the Fall. Why Is It Taking So Long?

Description - News Article

Source - The Forward
July 15

First-ever National Jewish Educator Census Underway

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
July 9

1,000 Jewish Groups Received at Least $500 Million in Government Loans. Some Laid off Staff Anyway.

Description - News Article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
July 8

Which Jewish Groups Got the Biggest Coronavirus Loans from the Government — and Why?

Description - News article

Source - The Forward
June 8

The Coronavirus Is Killing Off American Jewish Institutional Life

Description - Article

Source - Tablet
June 7

What Covid Is Teaching Us About Jewish Education

Description - Op-Ed

Source - New York Jewish Week
June 29

Tech-Savvy Faith-Based Groups Thrive in Pandemic, Widening a Fundraising Digital Divide

Description - News Article

Source - Inside Philanthropy
June 26

Day Schools and Covid-19 (Part 3)

Day Schools and Covid-19 (Part 3)

Source - JFN webinar
June 22

Amid the Pandemic, Jewish Day Schools Survive (And Even Thrive)

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
June 21

A ‘Super Fund’ Aims to Keep Jewish Nonprofit World From Sinking

Description - News article

Source - New York Jewish Week
June 2

Coronavirus Aid for Jewish Day Schools Caught up in DeVos Debate

Description - News article

Source - The Forward
June 1

Leading Our Jewish Day Schools in the Shadows of Covid-19: An Unprecedented Leadership Challenge

Description - Op-Ed

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
May 27

Day School and Covid-19, Part 2

Day School and Covid-19, Part 2

Source - JFN webinar
May 19

Pandemic Pressures Mount on Jewish Day Schools

Description - News Article

Source - New York Jewish Week
May 13

Introducing the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund

Introducing the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund

Source - JFN webinar
May 11

The Biggest Jewish Coronavirus Relief Fund Will Soon Start Giving Out Loans

Description - News article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 12

Jewish Day Schools Get Creative as They Eye Uncertain Financial Future

Description - Article (sponsored by Prizmah)

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 7

$9 Million in Emergency Funding for Jewish Life Projects

Source - UJA-Federation of New York
April 23

Day Schools and COVID-19

Day Schools and COVID-19

Source - JFN Webinar
April 6

Day School Resources During COVID-19

Description - Resource page

Source - Prizmah

Jewish Education Resource Page

Description - Curated resources

Source - Jewish Education Project

Frequently Asked Financial Questions (for Day Schools) in the Time of COVID-19

Description - FAQ

Source - Prizmah

Unpacked for Educators

Description - Online Jewish learning sessions

Source - Open Dor

Remote Learning Resources Page

Description - Curated resources

Source - Center for Israel Education

Protocols for Safeguarding Children and Teens in Online Communications

Source - Aleinu

Coronavirus and the Jewish Community: Responses from the Field (First in an Ongoing Series)

Coronavirus and the Jewish Community: Responses from the Field (First in an Ongoing Series)

Description - JFN Webinar
March 18

Nonprofit Funding Proposals

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