The Volokh Conspiracy

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NYC Imposes Additional Requirements on Private Schools in Predominantly Jewish Neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn

But the City did not impose restrictions on similarly situated, non-Jewish neighborhoods in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island


Last week, on the eve of Yom Kippur, I blogged about New York City's plans to impose heightened restrictions on Jewish neighborhoods in New York.

Yesterday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, flagged the "20 hotspot Zip Codes" with positive cases (Kings County is Brooklyn).

Yesterday, the New York City Commission of Health and Mental Hygiene imposed a series of new restrictions on eight of these zip codes in Brooklyn and Queens. I will list the positivity rate in each zip code, as well as the number of positive tests.

  1. Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn: 11219 (5%, 12) and 11204 (6%, 13).
  2. Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn: 11210 (4%, 7) and 11230 (8%, 29).
  3. Gravesend neighborhood of Brooklyn: 11223 (4%, 11).
  4. Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn: 11229 (4%, 11)
  5. Kew Gardens neighborhood of Queens: 11415 (this zip code is not listed on Governor Cuomo's tweet)
  6. Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens: 11691 (3%, 7)

All of these zip codes are in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens.

The Commissioner did not impose restrictions on six neighborhoods in New York that had comparable positivity rates and positive tests:

  1. The Marine Basin neighborhood in Brooklyn: 11234 (4%, 10).
  2. Two neighborhoods in the Bronx: 10465 (4%, 5) and 10462 (3%, 7).
  3. The Inwood neighborhood of Manhattan: 10040 (4%, 7).
  4. Two neighborhoods in Staten Island: 10306 (3%, 5) and 10304 (3%, 6). (I grew up very close to these zip codes).

These neighborhoods are not predominantly Jewish.

The restrictions on private schools in this area are very onerous.

All non-public schools in the affected zip codes must comply with the following additional requirements:

  • All individuals on the school premises must remain at least 6 feet apart at all times, except: in emergencies or when doing so would create a safety hazard; or when physical barriers are put in place between individuals in accordance with New York State guidance for in-person instruction at pre-k to Grade 12 schools during the COVID-19 public health emergency; and
  • Face coverings are required in school buildings at al times, except for individuals who cannot wear a face covering because of developmental, medical or age reasons;
  • Coordinating with the Department and the Test + Trace Corps to identify, isolate and prevent the spread of COVID-19; and
  • Following the protocols established by the Department for opening and closing classrooms and schools if a student or staff is confirmed with COVID-19, and excluding students and staff who have symptoms or are confirmed with COVID-19 or have been identified as a close contact to someone with COVID-19.

Students, teachers and staff having close contact with confirmed cases of COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days from such contact, in accordance with the New York State Department of Health's guidelines for precautionary quarantine.

This order shall be effective immediately and remain in effect through the end of the 2020-2021 school year, including any summer school sessions during 2021, or such earlier time as I may indicate….

An attorney in New York told me that if read literally, it is impossible to comply with these rules.

Get the TROs ready.