One of Jerusalem’s largest ultra-Orthodox high schools for girls has instructed its students to use a back gate instead of the main entrance in order to keep operating in clear violation of Health Ministry directives to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
The Beit Yaakov Teachers' Institute in the Romema neighborhood - an area that has suffered extremely high coronavirus infection rates - also told students to evacuate the school immediately and in secret when instructed, in order to avoid escape the attention of police and municipal inspectors.
While the school resumed its activities a few weeks ago in violation of regulations, it only recently instructed students to take precautions to conceal operations due to fear of increased media attention.
The move came following an official announcement by Haredi leader Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, who called Monday for studies at all religious girls schools to resume.
Kanievsky, 92, is considered a leading authority in the Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox community and himself tested positive for the coronavirus in October after flaunting health regulations.
A letter penned by Kanvieksy's daughter Lea Koldetzki and sent to Haredi school administrators stated that, "the girls are sitting at home and are bored… and the situation for many girls is truly bordering on life threatening."
"My father Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky told me that principals and teachers must do everything to prevent a deterioration for Jewish girls and to open educational frameworks for all girls, with appropriate caution,” wrote Koldetzki, who is seen as close to her father and as a powerful force in the ultra-Orthodox community.
The Beit Yaakov Teachers' Institute declined to make a statement.
The members of Israel's ultra-Orthodox community, who live in close proximity to one another and place great emphasis on communal living, have been hard hit by the pandemic.
Many of the community have also faced criticism for blatantly disregarding health regulations and even encouraging others to do so.