Orange County Health Department serves UTA of Kiryas Joel Boys School with a cease and desist order

Palm Tree. Authorities said they found what appeared to be hundreds of students inside, not wearing personal protective equipment, not social distancing and in violation of the Governor’s Executive Orders.

| 22 May 2020 | 11:27

    The Orange County Health Department served the United Talmudic Academy (UTA) of Kiryas Joel Boys School with a cease and desist order on Thursday, May 21.

    The Health Department, which was accompanied by the New York State Police, notified personnel present at the school of the unlawful operation.

    On Wednesday, May 20, after receiving reports of the illegal operation, Health Department officials and the State Police visited the school. They found what appeared to be hundreds of students inside, not wearing personal protective equipment, not social distancing, and plainly in violation of the Governor’s Executive Orders. Health officials verbally directed the school to shut down immediately.

    County officials notified the governor’s office of the violation on Wednesday morning and on Thursday, a formal cease and desist order was served.

    “The County Health Department investigates as many complaints as we can, based on the severity of the potential violation as it pertains to the threat to public health during this communicable disease pandemic,” Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman said the press release announcing the cease and desist order. “We refer all other potential violations of the Governor’s Executive Order to law enforcement as part of New York’s PAUSE program. This school has been notified that they are not to continue to operate and we expect them to comply.”

    The United Talmudic Academy (UTA) of Kiryas Joel Boys School is one of more than 25 educational facilities within the community.

    The incident came to light after News 12 reported the school was open.

    Residents can file complaints regarding the operation of non-essential businesses or gatherings 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling the New York State PAUSE Enforcement Assistance Task Force at 1-833-789-0470.

    Notice to cease and Desist
    Notice to cease and Desist
    By Order of the Orange County Commissioner of Health
    Name of School: UTA of Kiryas Joel Boys School
    Address: 10 Ratzfert Way, Town of Palm Tree
    Date: May 21, 2020
    Dear SchooI Administrators:
    Orange County continues to see a high prevalence of COVID-19 in the community with a total of 10,212 cases as of May 20, 2020, and nearly 400 cases in the past week. Persons who are infected with or exposed to persons infected with COVID-19 pose an imminent and significant threat to public health and safety.
    It has come to our attention that your school has opened in violation of Governor's Executive Orders and is operating in a way which endangers the hundreds of students and others who are entering or remaining in that facility. Reference is made to the Executive Orders of Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York.
    Please see such orders including but not limited to Executive Order 202.6 authorizing Empire State Development to determine what may be open as "Essential" and Executive Order 202.8 requiring each employer other than essential businesses and not-for-profits to "reduce the in-person workforce at any work location by 100 percent no later than March 22 at 8 p.m."
    On May 20, 2020, personnel from the Orange County Health Department along with the New York State Police visited this School and notified adult personnel present of this unlawful operation.
    You are hereby Ordered to immediately Cease and Desist this conduct and to comply with the Governor's Order as your conduct is unlawful and is creating and maintaining a condition which endangers the health of your students, those who enter the facility, as well as other individuals who come into contact with those individuals. COVID-19 is a rapidly spreading infection which appears to be transmitted by droplets and close contact. In addition, said infection may survive on surfaces and be easily transmitted.
    Pursuant to Executive Order 202.14 and Public Health Law Section 12b (2) willful violation of the Governor's Executive Orders may subject you to criminal prosecution. Additionally, a person is guilty of the crime of Criminal Nuisance in the Second Degree (Penal Law 240.45) when by conduct either unlawful in itself or unreasonable under all the circumstances, he knowingly or recklessly creates or maintains a condition which endangers the safety or health of a considerable number of persons.
    For the safety and welfare of your students, the greater community, and to avoid subjecting yourselves to possible criminal charges you are hereby directed to comply with the strictures of the law and the Governor's Executive Orders.
    Irina Gelman, DPM, MPH, PHD
    Commissioner of Health
    County of Orange