Torah Umesorah: Yeshivos And Day Schools Should Remain Open Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic

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NEW YORK (VINnews) — The Torah Umesorah Vaad Roshei Yeshiva has released the following statement:

We have been asked, in light of the pandemic spread of the terrible coronavirus, whether yeshivos and day schools should close down until the danger of infection has passed.

It is our opinion, at least as of now, and at least in cities or municipalities where public and private schools are not required to close, that yeshivos and day schools should remain open. The koach haTorah generated by tinokos shel bais rabban is inestimable, and is urgently needed in times like these.

The general consensus among health officials at this time appears to be that schools may remain open, as evidenced by the fact that most local health authorities have not at this point ordered the wholesale closing of schools, neither public schools nor private schools. We do not think that yeshivos and day schools need to hold themselves to a different standard than that determined appropriate for neighboring public or private schools.

Of course, yeshivos and day schools must do all in their power to minimize any risk of students or staff becoming infected by the coronavirus. Large gatherings should be avoided. Good hygienic habits must be observed. Schools should have local doctors with whom to consult as any issue may arise. Most importantly, children or adults who do not feel well or who have compromised immune systems should stay home.

Finally, in light of the extraordinary medical dangers posed by the coronavirus challenge, and the tremendous negative economic impact the spread of the virus is having on individuals and industries, we strongly urge all yeshivos and day schools to add special tefillos for rachamei Shomayim. The Gemara in Maseches Shevuos, 15b, refers to Tehillim 91 as “Shir shel paga’im” or “Shir shel nega’im” – a special tefilla for protection from such plagues. This is a tefilla especially fitting for today.

May the zchus of maintaining hevel pihem shel tinokos bais rabban even in these difficult times be a source of protection for all of Klal Yisroel.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. As opposed to the rabbis of Bergen county, the roshie yeshivoth are correct. As long as there is no directive from civil government, there is no need to be popelicher funem poips.

    • Bergen County announced the closure of all schools (although some may be open on tomorrow all will be closed by next week). It was coming. It is wrong to say to wait for the public schools to close – across the board. If the virus is hitting the Orthodox community – as in Westchester -what point is there in waiting until the public schools close ?

  2. During the 1918 Spanish flu, the mayor of St. Louis cancelled outdoor festivities and everyone yelled at him that he shouldn’t do that, and the mayor of Philadelphia allowed parades to continue. A few weeks later, the city of Philadelphia had over 10,000 deaths due to the flu. Torah U’Mesorah is making a bad decision and a potentially dangerous one. They should also have the guts to put their names on this one.

  3. I agree that schools will regret not closing earlier. This is a mistake on the part of Torah U’Mesorah. Schools are breeding grounds for spreading the virus.

    • “Schools are breeding grounds for spreading the virus.”
      How so? Unlike many other viruses, this one doesn’t seem to go after kids: very few have had covid-19

  4. An incredibly foolish, shortsighted decision. Whoever is responsible for it will also be responsible for the deaths that inevitably result, probably of students’ grandparents.

    • Good. So you live in fear and leave the rest of us alone. Lock yourself in your house and don’t come out until September. Go enter your underground bunker with your loony friends from Coast to Coast overnight radio. Report back to us all your UFO sightings.

  5. Now that the NY City schools have closed they should take on the responsibility of amending their first statement which was wrong even then. But now they really need to follow up !

  6. Children are not as affected by the coronavirus as adults. They may ‘have’ the virus, show no symptoms and still infect others. Their grandparents are especially vulnerable to the virus and have a MUCH higher chance of dying from the illness. So either totally isolated the seniors from society and their grandchildren AND children or shut the schools down! Torah Umesorah and the ‘Rabbi’s’ will have blood on their hands. What fools they are.

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