Coronavirus Update: March 13


As the world’s response to the spread of Coronavirus continues, ORT has been reacting by taking the necessary measures to protect our students and staff globally.

In keeping with health authorities’ advice and government guidelines, many of our schools have temporarily closed due to virus transmission precautions and events have been postponed.

ORT leaders around the world are closely monitoring the situation and we will continue to share the latest news as and when we can in this fast-changing environment.

Understandably, as is the case for many millions of people and organizations, this is a very difficult time for ORT operationally – but with our innovative approach, collaboration and pioneering spirit, we will work tirelessly to bring out the best in our network.

As of Friday morning:

Israel: All of Israel’s schools have now closed, including World ORT Kadima Mada’s school network in the country’s periphery. They will remain shut until after Pesach. Students are staying at home and work is continuing to identify ways in which teaching can continue online. Everyone has been sent home from our Kfar Silver Youth Village near Ashkelon, apart from around 55 students who live at the site as part of the Naale program. Further updates on how the education system will continue are expected early next week.

Former Soviet Union: In Russia, schools across the country remain open. Large gatherings have been cancelled, including an educational forum in St Petersburg at which ORT is traditionally a prominent participant.

In Ukraine, ORT’s schools in Odessa and Zhaporozhie have closed until April 3. All schools in Kiev are closed for quarantine until March 31.

In Moldova, Kishinev ORT Herzel Technology Lyceum is closed until March 23.

In Lithuania, Vilnius ORT Sholom Aleichem Jewish Gymnasium will be closed from today until April 17.

In Estonia, ORT Tallinna Juudi Kool is switching to distance learning from Monday (16th) for at least a week following national guidance issued yesterday. All planned events, trips and participation in competitions, both in Estonia and in other countries, are cancelled.

France: All schools and universities in France, including ORT France establishments, will close from Monday.

Italy: The ORT Scuole Ebraiche di Roma and affiliated school in Milan have been closed since last week and remain shut. Some classes are taking place remotely. Dany Maknouz, a teacher at the Milan school, explains in this Jewish Chronicle article, how students and teachers are coping on lockdown.

Switzerland: A skiing event being organized by ORT Switzerland for this week has been cancelled.

Spain: Schools in Spain remain open, including ORT Colegio Estrella Toledano in Madrid.

Panama: Colegio Isaac Rabin in Panama City will be closed until April 7.

South Africa: A celebration of ORT South Africa’s work has been postponed due to the spread of Covid-19 in the country. It was due to be attended by more than 100 people. ORT Day celebrations next week will now not take place at the affiliated King David Schools. ORT SA staff still plan to mark the day with a cake in their office in Johannesburg.

United Kingdom: ORT UK has cancelled a business breakfast it was due to hold in central London on March 24. It is hoped the event may take place at a later date.

United States: ORT America has postponed some local events including in Michigan and Atlanta that were due to take place in the coming days.

ORT Day: A number of schools have been forced to pull out of activities planned for ORT Day, the annual celebration of our global network, which is taking place on Wednesday, March 18. We will provide a further update early next week on which activities will still take place – some will be remote via online resources – and how students and teachers can join in with the celebration.

We are thinking of our ORT students, teachers, staff, and families who have been affected by the outbreak and are working so hard to help each other at this time.

With dozens of schools across our network, and with our organization reaching 300,000 people in more than 30 countries every year, we are taking the virus very seriously, and health and safety remain our highest priority.