Yeshivos Apprised of Swine Flu Precautions


kidsWith Swine Flu spreading in New York City, confirmed in several other states and government officials describing the situation as “pre-pandemic,” Agudath Israel of America’s division of education affairs apprised the more than 600 yeshivos, Bais Yaakovs and day schools it services of important information regarding the illness and its spread.

An April 28 memorandum from Mrs. Deborah Zachai, Agudath Israel’s director of education affairs and Mr. Dovid Tanenbaum, its education affairs associate, to yeshivos across the nation included a question-and-answer sheet prepared by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and a sample letter to parents, prepared by the New York State Education Department, both documents easily modifiable for use by yeshivos across the country. The Agudath Israel memorandum also provided information about how schools can remain up to date on the status of the disease’s spread.

Mrs. Zachai explained why she and her department lost no time in getting information out. “This is a constantly and rapidly changing situation,” the Agudath Israel representative said. “And we will update schools as necessary. But basic information about means of transmission and precautious to be taken by yeshivos and their students are an important means of positively influencing the course the brewing epidemic will take.”

Agudath Israel’s education affairs office routinely sends out memos to schools concerning myriad issues of importance to them – several times a month. “There are governmental rules and regulations that administrators need to be apprised of,” says Mr. Tanenbaum. “And opportunities for federal or state funding that are available to nonpublic schools.”

More rare, though, the Agudath Israel officials note, though hardly unprecedented – outbreaks of measles, mumps and shigella have elicited Agudath Israel memos to schools in the past – is sending timely medical information made necessary by public health threats. “More rare, yes,” says Mrs. Zachai, “but most important.”

{Elisha Newscenter}