Melbourne Jewish schools closed amid positive cases
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Melbourne Jewish schools closed amid positive cases

This week, Melbourne's Sholem Aleichem College community was hit with nine positive cases of coronavirus, including four children, three teachers and two parents.

A student at Mount Scopus' Fink Karp Ivany kindergarten.Photo: Peter Haskin
A student at Mount Scopus' Fink Karp Ivany kindergarten. Photo: Peter Haskin

YOUNG students from five Jewish day schools have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days with principals acting swiftly to prevent an outbreak.

On Monday, the Sholem Aleichem College community was hit with three positive cases of coronavirus, including a child, a teacher and a parent linked to the preschool who had all been on campus.

The school closed on Monday for all students, who will be required to undertake online learning until further notice.

On Wednesday, six further cases were recorded, including two preschool teachers, two kinder children and a primary school student and their parent. However, the primary school student had not attended campus in recent weeks.

Principal Helen Greenberg assured the community that the school “will be strictly following the public health advice of the Department of Health to ensure the safety of all staff, students and families,” adding that the college has activated its COVID-19 Response Plan.

This came after two other schools recorded positive cases, including Mount Scopus Memorial College which reported two cases of the virus: a kinder student at the Gandel Besen House kinder and a traffic supervisor at the Fink Karp Ivany kindergarten.

As a precaution, the school immediately closed the kindergartens at both campuses and informed the Education and Health departments, who they have since been working with in order to re-open the campuses.

On Tuesday morning, Mount Scopus principal Rabbi James Kennard was given the green light to reopen the school yesterday (Wednesday). Informing parents at every stage, Rabbi Kennard said, “I thank the staff, parents and children for their understanding and patience at this very difficult time.”

On Saturday evening, it was also announced that a kinder child at Bialik College had been diagnosed with COVID-19, prompting principal Jeremy Stowe-Lindner to close the school until deep cleaning and contract tracing had been completed.

While on Monday, another case at Bialik was confirmed, the student had not been on-campus in recent weeks, enabling the school to reopen its doors yesterday as well.

“Whilst we hoped we wouldn’t experience a case of COVID-19 in our school community, the college is well-equipped to manage this challenging situation,” said Stowe-Lindner.

“We will continue to support the affected family in any way we can.”

The King David School was the last of the four schools to also report positive cases in their community, with three students – two junior students and one senior student from separate families – testing positive earlier in the week.

Principal Marc Light, however, notified the community that the affected students had not attended campus during their infectious periods, meaning the school has not been required to close.

“Our thoughts go out to the students and their families and we wish them well through this difficult period,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Cheder Levi Yitzchok school community was also notified that a staff member had tested positive for the virus who is a family member of a VCE student at Beth Rivkah College.

Out of an abundance of caution, Yeshivah – Beth Rivkah (YBR) principal Rabbi Elisha Greenbaum has asked all VCE students to revert to at-home learning until the student receives their test result.

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