Katz Yeshiva

Jewish Students Protest Use Of COVID Wristbands In Boca Raton

Boca Raton Coronavirus COVID-19 Florida News Palm Beach County Schools

Comparisons To Auschwitz Made Following Announcement Of Completely Optional COVID Program.

Wristbands Used On Television Sets, Movie Sets, Hawaii. But Some Claim Anti-Semitism At Jewish School.

An optional program at Katz Yeshiva High School in Boca Raton is leading to comparisons to Nazi mandates on Jews.

BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher

BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — A vocal group of high school students is protesting plans by Katz Yeshiva High School in Boca Raton to let them opt-out of mask-wearing by proving COVID-19 vaccination status. That proof comes by wearing a wristband.

Continuing the ongoing conservative theme of comparing masks, wristbands, or other identification requirements to Nazi-esque mandates, the students — and their parents — are complaining online and to local media.

Rabbi Avi Levitt, head of KYHS school, tells BocaNewsNow.com, calls the complainers — some of whom are comparing the wristbands to the Holocaust — offensive.

“Relating what KYHS has decided to do to ease out of Covid restrictions with the Holocaust is abhorent and disparages the horrors of 1939-1945,” said Levitt. “There are clearly large agendas at play. While we at KYHS can be sensitive to people and their positions, not everyone will be satisfied with a given school determined policy. Heaping calumny upon the administration and misappropriating the Holocaust to make a point doesn’t mean that the position taken by KYHS isn’t reasonable.”

Documents obtained by BocaNewsNow.com show the plan is part of the school’s effort to wind down mask mandates and return to a sense of normalcy. The use of wristbands is similar to procedures used on movie and television sets, in the state of Hawaii for visitors to prove they met the State’s entrance requirements, and in other public places.

“A community pool may require those who wish to access the deep end to put on a wristband so that the guards can identify those eligible swimmers,” added Levitt. “Amusement parks may have rides and water sections, and in order to enter the water section of the park, customers have to wear wrist bands.”

In an email sent to Katz families by Levitt, the wristband use is described as completely voluntary and designed to let vaccinated students enjoy the benefit of being vaccinated.

Wrote Levitt to Katz families:

As the incidence of Covid-19 in South Florida diminishes, and as the number of positives within our own community remains at a manageable level, KYHS is ready to move to an updated approach to mitigation of viral spread. 

KYHS will now have an available voluntary opt-in program. Any vaccinated student who would like to be eligible for a mask-optional approach in school may do so, provided: The student’s parent(s) / guardian has submitted the acknowledgment form, the student participates in a single required PCR Covid test, (and) the student wears the school-issued wristbands that will identify students who are eligible to be in school without a mask. (Wristbands will be reissued roughly once per week in order to reflect the fluid nature of the list of eligible-to-unmask students.) 

The unmasking portion of the voluntary opt-in program begins once we have received the (negative) results of the PCR Covid test. 

Please take note of the following: Unvaccinated students are not eligible to unmask at this time. Covid-recovered students within 90 days of illness may unmask for the duration of those 90 days. Any student who is unable to conform to the masking expectations and who through their actions introduces additional Covid risk to the building will be asked to leave school on the day of the violation.

If the incidence of Covid-19 heads upwards once more either in our own community or in the South Florida environs, we may need to require all students to mask once more. 

Any teacher may require a class to mask in order to enable them to comfortably teach in the building. We have pregnant teachers and teachers recovering from medical issues who may opt to require masks and as such students need to have a mask on hand for those sections. (The office will continue to keep boxes of masks on hand for students who may forget to bring a mask to school.) 

We are interested in achieving “normalcy” and yet we also seek to balance that with sufficient health safety that will enable as many students to remain in school and not require learning on the Zoom platform. We look forward to this next phase of school life at KYHS and hope and pray to Hashem that with this move we will continue to ease away from the Covid policies of the past 17 months.

The reaction is what anyone following mask and vaccine mandate protestors would expect. They have taken to Change.Org to compare the optional program to Auschwitz.



Rabbi Levitt says the protestors have it wrong. The use of a wristband leads to inclusion, not exclusion. Levitt told BocaNewsNow.com that the plan is receiving huge support at the school, but that supporters aren’t the people who launch online petitions or complain to the media.


Paul Saperstein


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