BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — Boca Raton’s Congregation B’Nai Israel Early Childhood Education Center is now mandating masks for everyone over the age of two on its Boca Raton campus.
It is also mandating that all instructional staff members be vaccinated.
The announcement comes as infections surge in the area, and just after we reported that 92 people signed an online petition calling on the school to drop all mask mandates. While we could not confirm that all 92 actually have anything to do with B’Nai Israel, some do, like Chen Mordechai who wrote, “Our children did amazing last year without masks no vaccines and no medicines this is our choice if we want our kids in masks or not.”
Also opposed to masks, Jill Lewis, who wrote, “Facemasks promote styes in the eye and pink eye infections it is not healthy to breathe in CO2 all day for little developing bodies and brains let’s get real people!!!”
Area health officials say masks are imperative to stopping the spread of COVID, especially in children too young to be vaccinated. On Monday, the leaders of JFK Medical Center in Palm Beach County, one of the largest regional facilities, said the hospital is nearing critical condition due to the unprecedented number of COVID-19 patients.
This is the official announcement from B’Nai Israel made Tuesday, August 10th, 2021:
Dear NCECE parents,
We are writing to inform you of our updated Covid-19 policies concerning mask-wearing. As you know, this continues to be a fluid situation which we monitor daily.
Since our announcement last week, the Covid-19 positivity rates in our area have steadily increased. CBI’s mission has always been to keep all our members safe and healthy, and we take the utmost pride and responsibility in protecting your children to the best of our ability. Over this past weekend, we met with multiple board-certified top area physicians, as well as members of the Board of Boca Regional Hospital. The recommendations of these experts were all unanimous, guiding us to update our policies as follows:
Congregation B’nai Israel’s Nadel Center for Early Childhood Education will be following the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics. All teachers and instructional staff must be vaccinated and masked while indoors.
All children over the age of 2 will be required to wear masks during carpool line and while indoors. We understand that for some children it is difficult to have them wear a mask for long periods of time. Children need to understand the reason why they will need to wear masks. The teachers will explain how masks prevent germs from spreading among people, and they keep their friends and themselves healthy. The teachers will continue to make it fun for them to wear their mask. We know that positive reinforcement is always the best, and we will all have patience to guide your child/children.
Additionally, all parents will be required to be masked during drop off and pick up in the various areas of our parking lot. As before, no parent will be allowed to enter the school building unmasked and entrance will be restricted to cases of an emergency.
Masks will not be required for all outdoor activities or while eating.
Physical distancing and individual spacing of classes will be instituted and enforced.
The School will continue to respond to certified notes from a child’s primary health care physician should there exist medical concerns regarding our mask policy.
As it says in the Talmud, “All Jews are responsible for one another — Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh BaZeh” (Shevuot 39a). These policies will help us be responsible for each other and protect your children’s health.
We are committed to reviewing these policies throughout the year and will communicate an update within the next 30 days. A letter will be sent soon explaining what Congregation B’nai Israel has done and will be doing to help to keep the environment in and around our campus as healthy as possible. We deeply appreciate your cooperation in this matter.
Congregation B’Nai Israel is a private institution. Like all private schools, it can mandate masks regardless of rules or orders issued by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis or the Florida Department of Education.
Parents, following our original reporting on the issue last week, told us that they will move their children to other schools. A quick poll of local private preschools and early childhood centers reveals most are in the process of adopting mask mandates.
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