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Five Towns schools to take a Covid break

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It is expected that nearly all the private schools in the Five Towns will close or go to remote learning for a brief time after the Jewish holiday of Sukkot so that teachers, students and staff members at certain grade levels can go get tested for Covid-19.

The Hebrew Academy of Long Beach which includes Davis Stahler Renov High School for Boys in Woodmere and Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls in Hewlett Bay Park, and its sixth, seventh and eighth grade at its elementary school in Woodmere will be going to remote instruction after Sukkot which ends on Oct. 9 until Oct. 20, said Executive Director Richard Hagler.

“We are doing this because we want to be safe, all schools want to be safe,” Hagler said. “We all have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in  personal protection equipment.”

HALB’s pre-school and first through fifth grades will return to school on Oct. 10 ad have in-person instruction. Hagler said the idea is to “start off with a clean slate” after the holiday. “We will have a full Zoom schedule in grades six to 12 in Judaic and general studies,” he said.

Nassau County's Department of Health has reported an uptick of Covid cases in the Five Towns and at least two schools in Far Rockaway that service the Five Towns were closed: Yeshiva Darchei Torah and Torah Academy for Girls. The Lawrence School District reported a staff member at its Lawrence Primary School in Inwood tested positive. District officials said the school was remaining open as per its state-approved reopening plan. 

Rambam Mesivta High School in Lawrence emailed parents last week on its plan to close for two weeks after Sukkot and use Zoom for remote instruction. “We want to be extra, extra careful we are concerned that the boys will get together during Sukkot and on Simchat Torah and unknowingly, unwittingly be exposed,” said Rabbi Zev Friedman, the school’s dean, adding that the parents were overwhelmingly in favor of what Friedman called a “pragmatic” approach to the situation.       

The Brandeis School in Lawrence will remain open, said  Administrative Director Reuben Maron, adding that school will be in session Monday through Thursday during Sukkot  and the students will learn about the eight-day holiday inside an on campus sukkah.

As of press time, calls to  the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway, Mesivta Ateres Yaakov and Yeshiva South Shore in Hewlett were not yet returned.