Monday, May 25, 2009

Schools Close Due to Swine Flu

Here in Brooklyn, four yeshivas and one Jewish day care center have announced that they are closing for the week because of either suspected or confirmed cases of swine flu among their student bodies. None of these schools were ordered to close by the Department of Health. In each case, the school's administration made the decision independently. Whether or not these closings are really necessary or are an overreaction, it seems to me that the administrators should be acknowledged for putting the safety of their students and staff above the schools' innate desire to avoid any unpleasant publicity.
In a community where every action is scrutinized, criticized, misinterpreted and gossiped about; a community where Rosh Yeshivas have ignored known incidents of sexual abuse of children; a community where students and their parents are routinely pressured to avoid any act that might be deemed to make the school "look bad" in the eyes of others; in this overcrowded, insular, internally divided frum community that we have set up here, it seems to me that we should appreciate the caution and integrity of the schools that have placed the welfare of their students first.

8 comments:

Child אִישׁ Behavior said...

That is one possibility. Though from the mouth of one of the Rosh Yeshivas who just closed one of the schools, they feel like they have to to prevent parents holding the school responsible in the event that the thing spreads.

Leora said...

I heard a rumor of ten girls sick with flu (not clear what kind) in local (Central NJ) yeshiva school (not ours).

Yes, swine flu is "in your face." Unfortunately, abuse can be and has been pushed under rugs.

Garnel Ironheart said...

I have to disagree SR.

Put simply, this is hyterical overreaciton. Swine flu (wasn't there a psak we have to call it Mexican flu?) is just a variant of the regular flu that makes the rounds each winter/spring. It is not deadly, except to malnourish Mexican peasants without access to routine health care or to the elderly with multiple medical conditions that render their physical status frail. There is no more reason to close a yeshiva for this than if a couple of kids get ringworm from the gym towels.

But it's easier than dealing with real problems.

SuperRaizy said...

Child Ish-
I guess that in this instance I prefer to be dan l'kaf zechut.

Garnel-
It's now 9:40 PM, and at least 4 more Brooklyn schools have decided to close, even though they don't have any cases of swine flu among their students. So, yes, "overreaction" does seem to be an accurate characterization.

Baila said...

What with Memorial Day and Shavuot sandwiching the week, it's also a convenient week to close, no?

SuperRaizy said...

Baila-
True. Closing for the week really only entails closing on Tuesday and Wednesday. But you still have to ask how necessary this was.

Jacob Da Jew said...

Excuse me, but what about the parents who have to stay home with the kids? Do we get a say in teh matter or do teachers just get ANOTHER day off?

SuperRaizy said...

Jacob-
What on earth would make you think that parents should EVER get a say in anything that has to do with their child's yeshiva?!? ( :