No Religious Exemptions for Bais Rivkah Students

By staff

End of an era; the administration of Bais Rivkah in Crown Heights has announced its compliance with recently-passed legislation in New York that religious exemptions are no longer available for vaccinations.

In a letter sent to parents, Mrs Leah Boas, the Executive Director of the school’s registration, wrote: “Effective September 2019, no child, including both current and incoming students, will be admitted to any grade in Beth Rivkah – preschool through 12th grade – unless she is up to date or has begun receiving vaccinations.”

This spells bad news for those who don’t vaccinate in the Lubavitch community who have relied heavily on religious exemptions until now. 

“Vaccines are safe,” Governor Cuomo declared back in June, when the legislature was passed. “While I understand and respect freedom of religion, our first job is to protect the public health.”

The New York State Department of Health has announced that the deadline for obtaining first dose vaccinations in each immunization series for children attending school in the fall is 14 days from the first day of school or enrollment in child day care. Within 30 days of the first day of school, parents and guardians of such children must show that they have scheduled appointments for all required follow-up doses.

Parents are able to appeal to the Commissioner of the State Education Department and include a request for a ‘stay’ of the school’s action while the appeal is pending. They may also attempt to obtain medical exemptions as these are still accepted.

Will other community schools follow Bais Rivkah’s lead? Either that, or face civil penalties from the Department of Health. 

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