SAR needs to be more open


To the editor:

(re: “Community copes with COVID-19,” March 12)

Like many Riverdale residents, I’ve been following the story of the Westchester lawyer and his daughter who attends SAR High School. As we know, both tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. On March 11, I wanted to see if any other students, faculty or staff had tested positive, and I discovered that 29 had.

Astonishingly, the information wasn’t reported in any American media source, but in The Jerusalem Post. An article with the same information and number of cases was published in the Times of Israel on March 12.

In The Riverdale Press online story posted March 9, “Horace Mann, Riverdale Country School close over coronavirus concerns,” I read that “SAR does expect to reopen Wednesday, although it’s not clear if those plans might change now that other schools are closing down for longer periods. SAR officials could not be reached for comment late Monday.”

At that point, I started looking for an update elsewhere, when I found this March 11 article in The Jerusalem Post: “29 coronavirus cases confirmed at one New York Jewish school. The number was disclosed in an email Monday to parents and faculty.”

The article continues: “Administrators at the SAR Academy say they know of 29 confirmed cases of coronavirus at the New York City Jewish day school, including faculty, students and staff.”

The obvious question and concern here is that, in the light of the updated information revealed by SAR on that Monday, why weren’t SAR officials available for comment on late Monday? Most of the Riverdale public is still believing that only one case, the one initially reported, was confirmed at SAR.

SAR needs to fully disclose to the public the actual number of cases. One case versus 29 cases is no small disparity. If the revised number is accurate or not, either way, let’s hear it from the source.

Matthew Turov

EDITOR’S NOTE: The letter sent by SAR administrators was to parents of students, and not intended for public dissemination. The Riverdale Press was able to obtain a copy of the letter from at least one parent after learning of its existence, and reported it online Thursday, March 12.

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Matthew Turov,