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How Will It Affect Our Children? Agudath Israel Responds To Proposed Changes In The NYC Health Code

It could be a parent’s nightmare.

You send your 4-year-old off happily to school in the morning. Mid-day, you get the call, “School is closed until further notice because of a broken window.” Mild annoyance and surprise turn into dismay as it takes days or weeks for school to reopen.

Because of one broken window.

Impossible? Maybe not.

That’s exactly the type of situation, among others, that Mrs. Deborah Zachai, Agudah Director of Education Affairs, and Mr. Ami Bazov, Agudath Israel Coordinator of Education Affairs, are concerned about.

This past week, Mr. Bazov and Mrs. Zachai individually responded to proposed amendments to Articles 43 and 49 of the NYC Health Code, respectively.

In both cases, well-intentioned changes may do more harm than good to our children’s health.

Article 43

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) recently proposed several changes to Article 43 of the NYC Health Code, regulating school-based programs for children ages three through five.

Agudath Israel is concerned about a proposed amendment to Article 43, which give Board inspectors sweeping power to close school facilities in case of an “imminent or public health hazard.”

Mr. Bazov expressed his concerns when he testified last week. “We feel that these proposed changes are vague, overly broad, internally inconsistent, and do not give schools the proper opportunity to be heard before a school is closed. “

Since the health hazards are not specified and the schools’ due process is not protected, Agudath Israel fears situations such as the fictional broken window above. The proposed change could leave children out of school and vulnerable, instead of protecting them.

Article 49

Article 49 of the Health Code contains rules pertaining to schools. The DOHMH proposed that the Board of Health amend Article 49 with regulations for a school nurse’s office.

The list of proposed new requirements includes:

– square footage requirements for the nursing area
– a bathroom internal or adjacent to the medical room
– equipment such as a refrigerator, exam table, and more
– and many other regulations

Many yeshivos already have a school nurse attending to the health needs of the student body. However, they often don’t have the space, and certainly not the out of pocket funds, to renovate the buildings to conform with the new requirements for the nurse’s office.

As Mrs. Zachai wrote in her comments on the proposed amendments, “If these regulations are adopted, many of our schools will not be able to provide nursing services as they have in the past. The bottom line is that students will be left without a medical professional in their building, leading to the diminishment of health and safety services to nonpublic school students in our City.”

Moving Forward

The good news is that the DOHMH is listening. Mr. Bazov reports that when he spoke to DOHMH staffers at the hearing, they were receptive to Agudah’s concerns.

Agudath Israel will continue to reach out to the NYC Department of Health. Mrs. Zachai explains that “we want to ensure that any new amendments enhance the health and safety of children attending ALL schools in New York City, including yeshivos and other nonpublic schools.”

6 Responses

  1. Maybe the Agudah can try to prevent other possible nightmares from happening. Here are two proposed legislation in the current session:

    NEW YORK SENATE BILL S298B (calls for mandating HPV vaccine for all children born after January 1, 2009)
    This is a dangerous vaccine. Do your research and find out why. (It has not been proven to prevent one case of cervical cancer yet, There are proven, no risk ways to prevent cervical cancer without taking this risky vaccine. ) Read Mary Holland’s book “HPV Vaccine on Trial” before you consider giving your young sons and daughters this controversial vaccine.


    “A health care practitioner may provide health care related to the prevention of a sexually transmissible disease, including administering vaccines, to a person under the age of eighteen years without the consent or knowledge of the parents or guardians of such person….”

  2. The moment they take away one right, it opens the door to removing all of our freedoms. We’ve been sounding the alarm and it falls on deaf ears. Everyone that is pro vaccine mandate is anti freedom, anti liberty and anti American. Giving the government and pharma total control over what’s injected into our body is the slippery slope we find ourselves going down.

  3. @geteducated the HPV vaccination is primarily intended to protect against human papillomavirus, which causes warts on sensitive areas.

  4. Stop it already. Nobody believes your paranoid lies about vaccines. Yes, every child should get the HPV vaccine. It does no harm and could save their lives. And that is very different from shutting down a whole school because the bathroom is too far away from the nurse’s office.

  5. @Milhouse If there is no risk to the HPV vaccine, then why are there thousands of reports of sudden collapse shock, seizures, muscle pain and weakness, disabling fatigue, guillain barre syndrome and more following Gardasil?
    If it’s so safe then why have other countries such as Japan stopped recommending it? Why are doctors and scientists around the world bringing forth studies proving harm? Did you know that the principal investigator of the Gardasil studies publicly stated that this vaccine has never proven to prevent a single case of cancer. Ever. Not even one case.
    Why would you stand against the consumer and protect a corporation that has a history of corruption, greed and fraud?
    To be clear, this isn’t about pro or anti. It’s about freedom of choice. Do whatever you want with your own body but leave everyone else alone.

  6. Millhouse: There are (minimal) risks associated with every vaccine, and the HPV vaccine risks appear to be trending higher, according to adverse effects reported (which may or may not be an accurate picture, but should at least give us pause).

    The question then becomes whether the benefits outweigh the risks. If a parent is pretty confident in their child׳s celibacy (and eventual spousal loyalty – of both parties) the risks seem to outweigh the benefits.

    Add to this that cervical cancer rates are significantly lower in Jewish women, I think it’s foolish to force parents to vaccinate for HPV.

    The problem I believe has become that the Orthodox organizations are afraid to touch this topic for fear of being looked down as anti-vaccine, given the recent vaccine shenanigans by some frum families.

    But we have to remain clear-headed and analyze the facts as it pertains to our community.

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