In response to the letter sent out by Crown Heights schools announcing that they will be testing their students for Covid-19 in order to remain open safely, a parent emailed ChabadInfo.com an Op-Ed.
Chof Hei Tishrei, 5781
In response to the recent developments and decisions regarding mandatory COVID-19 testing and the pushback from some parents, I feel the important need to make the following statement.
Since Purim COVID-19 has presented to us an unprecedented challenge (in most of our lifetimes). On top of the health crisis (which unfortunately resulted in terrible losses of lives in our community and worldwide), we have had to deal with various government rules, regulations, mandates and enforcement actions, many of which seem totally senseless, and furthermore infringe on our freedoms and rights.
As difficult as all of this has been for us, it seems to have been harder on the administrations of our schools, by an order of magnitude. Beyond their need to deal with all of this on a personal level, just like all of us, they had to manage and juggle between what is best for the students, what is best for the parents, what is possible without getting into trouble with authorities, and working under much added stress and hardship.
When the schools shut down for in-person learning, there were some people (in other communities) who felt that they shouldn’t keep up with their tuition obligations (I’m not referring to those that suffered a true financial hardship, but just because they felt that they aren’t getting what they expected for their money). I actually saw the much harder work and effort on behalf of teachers and administration, and said to friends that it is at such times that I feel more obligated to do everything to show my appreciation for the staff and pay my tuition bills on time.
As the school year BH started, various schools and communities seemed to be facing draconian measures again. In an effort to do what’s best for everyone under the circumstances and pending threats the administration decided to be proactive and do whatever possible in order to stave off possible forced closure. Unfortunately, that did involve signing a waiver of our individual rights, but is that not a proper price to pay in order to keep the school running in the best possible way? No-one is trying to take away any of our individual or parental rights. The school is merely trying to get maximum flexibility to be able to present the evidence required in order to keep the school open (and yes, that might involve testing).
I am utterly APPALLED by the attempt by some parents to paint this as a creeping infringement on our rights by the school. After working so hard, being under so much pressure, and having to make tough decisions and some compromises in order to keep the school open in the best possible way, the last thing that they deserve his a revolt and uprising by the parents!!!!
Do I think there were things that could have been done differently? Absolutely! Draconian last-minute policy enforcement sent by email, with technical issues and cumbersome forms, don’t make anyone feel comfortable or like it. I would also much rather have seen a waiver signed using a local provider for the testing (if needed) – I like to keep our business within the neighborhood, and if there’s money to be made off this, let it go to one of ours. But despite these shortcomings, I did sign the waiver as soon as I could, in order to try and ease the situation and do my little part to help the administration, and show my appreciation for all their hard work and efforts. I hope many did the same.
And to those that took to the route of protests and appeals, I urge you to reconsider after reading what I wrote above, backtrack, apologize for creating unnecessary hardship, and see where you can help make the situation easier for the administration, rather than creating unnecessary additional stress and hardship.
With best wishes for the Geulah Ha’amitis V’Hashleima.
A Proud BCM Parent, thankful to the staff and Administration