Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, Rosh Yeshiva of Merkaz Harav, informed his students on Monday that his institution would be switching to distance learning.
"In light of the current situation, the Yeshiva will now be learning from home and not on campus. Students and teachers are asked to remain at home until Tuesday at the earliest," Rabbi Shapira said, in a letter to his students. "A detailed announcement will be made as to the date to return to campus and the guidelines for doing so."
Merkaz HaRav is arranging to transport students who test positive for COVID-19 to their choice of either their homes, depending on whether there is someone at risk at home, or a government-run 'Corona Hotel'.
Rabbi Shapira's letter continued: "We hope that we can come together (while staying apart), using Zoom meetings or telephone calls, as it says 'Each will help his friend, and to his brother say 'Be strong!' (Isaiah 41:6)". With God's help, we will return healthy and stronger than before."
Dozens of Yeshiva students have recently tested positive for COVID-19, and many of the 'capsules' in which they had been learning have been forced into quarantine. It is worth mentioning that at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Mercaz HaRav took particularly strict precautions, opening their summer semester by distance learning as well, and elected to retain that format of study well after the Ministry of Health's 'capsule' arrangement would have made it possible for them to return to campus as many other Yeshivas did.