Hagon Harav Chaim Kanievsky and Hagoan Harav Gershon Edelstein wrote a letter of instructions for the reopening of shuls, schools, yeshivas and kollelim that was published on Thursday.
The letter began: “Since with siyata dishmaya, the spread of the pandemic is continuously improving but there is still fear of the risk of people gatherings without boundaries and safety regulations, therefore:
“Shuls – should open for tefillos and shiurei Torah with set participants and not more than 50 participants, with adherence to social distancing and the other known regulations (wearing masks, hygiene, etc.). It’s obligatory that someone will be appointed in each shul to be responsible for adherence to the regulations. Batei Hamidrashos that cannot arrange that the safety regulations are adhered to throughout the day should open their doors only for tefillos and not for learning and shiurim.
“In heichlei ha’Kollelim – they should learn in a group of up to 50 lomdim in one place with someone appointed to be responsible for adherence to social distancing and the other known regulations (masks, hygiene, etc.) In large places [kollel buildings], additional groups of up to 50 lomdin can be established through a set separation. In smaller places, there should be a group of less than 50 so they can adhere to regulations. But it’s not possible to establish rules how much each avreich can learn [to choose which avreichim won’t be able to come due to lack of room] and therefore the great responsibility will be on the avreichim themselves.
“In the yeshivos ha’kedoshos – they can learn in groups of up to 50 talmidim. The hanhala of each yeshiva is responsible to ensure adherence to social distancing and the other known regulations (masks, hygiene, etc.) and the one appointed on this. And in the large [yeshivos], they can establish additional groups of up to 50 lomdim by separating them. It’s a complete issur to open yeshivos with a dining room and dorms that are not opened through the approved plan [capsule plan]. And the yeshivos that were zocheh to open according to the approved plan should consult with those appointed on the possibilities for the future.
“In yeshivos ketanos – they should come after Shacharis and breakfast for learning sedarim and shiurim, without a dorm and dining room (bochurim who come from far can bring food from their homes with them). Each shiur should be in a separate place. Someone should be responsible for adherence to social distancing and the other known regulations (masks, hygiene, etc.)
“In Talmudei Torah and ganim for boys who are learning the osiyos ha’kedoshos – they should add as many classrooms as possible for learning in the morning and in the afternoon in a way that doesn’t contradict the health regulations. And if social distancing cannot be adhered to, the class should be divided into groups under the supervision of the staff.
“Educational institutions for girls and pre-school children – can be opened according to the known regulations. Anyone who is afraid to send can act in accordance with their wishes.
“Elderly people, those in high-risk groups and those in their proximity – it’s appropriate that they be machmir on themselves with everything that appears above. Marbitzei Torah and those who deliver shiurim should consult with a doctor on how to act.
“Everything that appears above is included in what the Rambam wrote in Hilchos Rotzeach and Shemiras Nefesh ( נפש פי”א, ובשו”ע חו”מ סי’ תכ”ז וברמ”א יו”ד סי’ קט”ז) and chalilah to make light of it.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)