Catholic elementary schools in Brooklyn and Queens closed next week to prevent spread of coronavirus

A statue of Pope John Paul II outside of St. Frances de Chantel Roman Catholic Church at 1273 58th street in Borough Park, Brooklyn, Sunday, Mar. 16, 2014. Borough Park is a predominately Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in central, Brooklyn. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Starting next week, Catholic elementary schools in Brooklyn and Queens will close, the Diocese of Brooklyn announced on Friday, joining Catholic elementary schools on Staten Island, Manhattan and the Bronx that have closed their doors to prevent further spreading of coronavirus in the city.

According to a statement from Superintendents of Schools Thomas Chadzutko, no student, teacher or other staff working underneath the diocese’s school system has tested positive for COVID-19, the illness contracted from coronavirus. Instead, the decision was made out of an “abundance of caution,” Chadzutko wrote.

Teachers will use Monday to develop distance learning plans and students are expected to begin online classes on Tuesday. Schools under the Dioceses purview are also working to accommodate students without internet access.

“While we understand that not all families may have access to online learning, we have directed all academies to utilize alternative instructional processes,” Dr. Chadzutko wrote in the statement. It remains unclear though what other means of distance learning schools could provide to students.

The decision comes a day after the Archdiocese of New York, which is responsible for churches and Catholic schools in the boroughs of Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx as well as Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster counties, announced that elementary schools under their jurisdiction would close. According to a statement from the archdiocese’s Superintendent of Schools Michael J. Deegan, schools will be closed for at least a week starting on Monday, March. 16 until March. 20 with the possibility of a lengthier closure being considered.

“We are continuing to monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19 (Coronavirus),” said Deegan in a statement. ” It is rapidly changing and we are closely following the advice of city, state and federal health officials. We will keep you informed.”

As more Catholic schools and private schools close, New York City public schools remain open. On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that if a public school student tests positive for COVID-19, the child’s school will be temporarily shut down for 24 hours to allow for the health department to clean the school trace the student’s recent contacts.

Yesterday, the city closed two co-located schools in Bronx after a student “self-confirmed” that he had coronavirus. The mayor’s spokesperson Freddi Goldstein took to twitter after the announcement to explain that “self-confirmed” meant that the student’s parents notified the Laboratory School of Finance and Technology and South Bronx Preparatory: A College Board School that their child showed symptoms of the virus. The state health department later announced that the student tested negative for coronavirus.

Early Friday, the Department of Education closed New Dorp High School on Staten Island after the state health department confirmed that a student tested positive for COVID-19. Two more schools were closed in Brooklyn given their close proximity to Brooklyn College, also closed, because of a student testing positive for the virus as well.

This story originally appeared on amny.com

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