OUTRAGEOUS: DOH closes TAG due to “high likelihood” of community transmission, Read Letter

September 25, 2020 9:34 am
September 25, 2020 9:34 am6 Comments

Dear TAG Parents,

We hope that this letter finds you and your family well, and coping, as best as possible, with the closure that we were subjected to by the New York City Department of Health.  As we had expected, a significant portion of the day was spent in meetings, both in person and on the phone, with various representatives of the DOH.  While we had hoped to gain a better understanding of the reasons and/or causes of the shutdown, regrettably none were forthcoming.

We did learn that TAG was not found to be in violation of any of the City or State guidelines, and at all times complied with our approved COVID policies and procedures.  Nevertheless, the DOH still believed that “there is a high likelihood of ongoing transmission of COVID-19 among students and faculty at TAG”.  That “high likelihood”, according to the DOH, emanated, not from TAG, but from the “community.”  To be absolutely clear, although we did everything right, the City sent our students, and your children home because it is concerned by the number of cases within our community.  As they say, you cannot fight City hall, and we will not, we will work with the City and do everything we can to open expeditiously.  We have been ordered to remain closed for 14 days, and we anticipate resuming in person education immediately following the Succos break.

While we as a school can continue to work tirelessly to meet all guidelines and goals, these past few days have shown that we cannot do that alone.  We will not be able to work with the City if the City remains concerned with the “community”, i.e., you.  As you remain home for Yom Tov, please think of all the policies and procedures we have circulated, think of your family and friends and please do what you can to stop the communal spread and allow our school to reopen. Faculty, staff, students and their families should all be practicing intelligent and safe COVID precautions including maintaining social distance, wearing masks and avoiding large gatherings anywhere.  If you are unsure, ask your doctor and err on the side of caution.  If you feel sick or a member of your family feels sick, stay home.  If you are unsure, stay home.  Remember, you are not only affecting yourselves, but the over 2,300 faculty and students of TAG and the thousands of other students in our local schools.

In fact, just this evening, the DOH again confirmed that we are faced with a communal issue, not just a TAG issue.  Tonight the DOH issued a press-release about our neighborhood, stating:

If the indicators continue to rise, there must be additional enforcement actions. For the first time in the city’s recovery period, there could be the immediate scaling back of activities in these ZIP codes if progress is not made by Monday evening. These actions on Tuesday could include:

  • Prohibiting all gatherings of more than 10 persons
  • Issuing fines for refusals to wear a mask after being offered a mask
  • And lastly, closing all non-essential businesses immediately

As we approach Yom Kippur, we should all be Mispalell for a quick end to this Magaifa, and accept upon ourselves to do our part to help bring it to an end.  May all of our Tefilos be accepted and we should all be Zocheh to a G’mar Chasima Tova.

We will continue to clearly and transparently report any further developments and we hope to see everyone in school after Yom Tov.  As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me or any other member of the TAG COVID Task Force.

Rabbi Meyer Weitman


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  • Farrock guy says:

    They can just decide to shut down the school??
    Even if you follow all their guidelines??
    This is just frightening!

  • H says:

    Rabbi Weitman writes eloquently of what we need to do as a community to work with the city and stop the spread of the virus. Our leaders can only ask for us to comply. We must listen to our leaders no matter how inconvenient it may be. Even if you don’t agree let me put it another way-
    Do we, as the Jewish people, want to be known as those who brought the virus back- and who knows what Tzaros that could bring.
    Thank you Rabbi Weitman for your strong yet affirmative words. Gmar Tov!!

  • JL says:

    Very impressive how Rabbi Weitman writes and is handling this situation.

  • Nate says:

    New age subtle anti-Semitism—we don’t need to be sensitive to Jews because they are not a liberally certified grievance group!

    • Farrock guy says:

      Yes and somehow we’re just following along.
      Like sheep to the slaughter house.
      Maybe I should brush up on my 🎼 Ani maamin tunes.

  • Simcha G says:

    Painful indeed. Rabbi Weitman, your father would be very proud of the letter you wrote. I fear that your plea to the community to comply with the DOH’s rules regarding COVID-19 will fall on deaf ears. Just this morning I was in Season’s Express and multiple shoppers weren’t wearing masks. As Hashem’s chosen people we are always held to a different/higher standard. We should strive to be mikadesh shem Hashem, not make a chilul. Personally, I find that taking out the trash to be more of a burden than wearing a mask, but I still do it every day. Why? Because if I don’t the consequences will be ugly. Same is true fir wearing a mask.

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