New York Jewish school becomes coronavirus hotspot as neighbourhood locked down

SAR Academy sees 29 of its staff and students diagnosed with the virus



A Jewish day school has the largest concentration of coronavirus cases in New York state after it was revealed on Tuesday 29 of its staff and students were diagnosed with coronavirus.

SAR Academy, which has around 1,250 students and is in the Bronx area of New York City, was closed on March 3 after a student was diagnosed with the virus. SAR was the first Jewish school to close in New York state.

SAR administrators have sought to continue the schools’ teaching schedule since the closure was announced and have sought to continue teaching students remotely using videoconferencing software.

JTA reported that most of the teaching was being done over school-issued iPads.

SAR is in on the outer-edges of New York’s Bronx borough, only a short distance from a heavily Jewish New Rochelle where officials established a one-mile containment zone on Tuesday in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

The containment zone is centred on a local synagogue: the Young Israel of New Rochelle, after a local lawyer who attended services, tested positive for coronavirus.

Attendees at a bat mitzvah, a funeral and Shabbat services were ordered to self-isolate.

Over Purim, local yeshiva students offered open-air readings of the Book of Esther to anyone who could not attend synagogues because of the closures.

Jewish centres across the United States are cancelling or postponing events. On Tuesday, it was announced that the Jewish Community Centre on Manhattan’s Upper West Side would close after a child was found to have attended while sick with coronavirus, while the National Jewish Book Awards have also been cancelled.

There are 173 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York state, the second highest in the United States. As of Tuesday, there were at least 1,037 confirmed cases across the country, while 31 people had died.

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