School stays open but Open House is cancelled as Mayor Garcetti issues new orders to fight Covid-19


BP Photo by Benjamin Gamson

CANCELED: Prospective students and their families arrived in the foyer Nov. 22 at the first of three Open Houses that had been scheduled for this admission season.

By Benjamin Gamson, News Editor

As Covid cases hit another all-time high in LA County last night, Shalhevet cancelled its second open house for prospective students until further notice as well as a Kabbalat Shabbat event, school officials confirmed.

An email sent to sent to student volunteers last night  by Director of Institutional Advancement Mrs. Cheryl Wolf and Dean of Student Life Dr. Johnny Ravenshanas said the reason was Mayor Garcetti’s new Targeted Safer-at-Home Order. 

“Unfortunately, due to the rise in COVID cases and precautionary measures taken by the city, we will be canceling our open this upcoming Sunday until further notice,” the email stated.

Dr. Noam Drazin, president of Shalhevet’s board, confirmed the cancellation today and said an admissions Kabbalat Shabbat scheduled for this evening had been cancelled as well.

“Open House and Kabbalat Shabbat programs were cancelled due to the rise in cases and in abundance of caution,’ as well as staying in line with the latest restrictions on activity,” Dr. Drazin wrote in an email to the Boiling Point this morning.

New coronavirus infections in Los Angeles County yesterday numbered 7,854, the highest number of daily cases so far in the pandemic, according to County of Los Angeles Public Health.

Unfortunately, due to the rise in COVID cases and precautionary measures taken by the city, we will be canceling our open [house] this upcoming Sunday until further notice.

— Email to student volunteers from Dr. Jonny Ravanshenas and Ms. Cheryl Wolf, Shalhevet Admissions

In a press release Nov. 27, following a five day average of more than 4,500 new cases per day, a new “Health Officer Order” was announced outlining “Additional Safety Modifications.” It specifically exempted schools that were already operating.

“All schools and day camps remain open adhering to re-opening protocols. K-12 Schools and Day Camps with an outbreak (3 cases or more over 14 days) should close for 14 days.”

Also yesterday, an email addressed to Shalhevet families said that optional in-person Judaic Studies classes and General Studies classes on Zoom — which started on campus on Tuesday — would continue next week. 

“Yesterday, Mayor Garcetti issued updated stay-at-home orders,” wrote Associate Head of School Rabbi David Block. “Please note that the activities and programs that we are running at Shalhevet are excluded from the new order as it relates to religious worship, day camps and schools.”

Dr. Drazin confirmed this as well.

“On campus, in-person learning for one grade at a time is still on schedule,” he wrote. 

Mayor Garcetti’s new order Wednesday night exempted educational instituions who “comply with all applicable protocols set forth by the State of California and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.”

Also this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a Regional Stay-At-Home Order in “regions where ICU capacity fall below 15%.” This order would last three weeks and permit schools that are already open to stay open.

“Sectors that will remain open when a region is placed into the Regional Stay-At-Home, “ Gov. Newsom said in a tweet.  “include schools that are already open” along with “critical infrastructure,” restaurants for take-out and delivery, and places of worship adhering to outdoor and distancing guidelines.

Places of worship are also exempted from the Dec. 2 order signed by Mayor Garcetti.