Brooklyn catholic schools close amid coronavirus concerns

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All elementary Catholic academies and parish schools in Brooklyn will close through April 20, diocesan officials announced on Monday.

The closure comes as New York City amps up its response to the spread of the novel coronavirus, and just one day after Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the closure of all city public schools through the same date.

“The decision to close is based on the interdependency of services between public schools and Catholic schools,” Superintendent of Schools Thomas Chadzutko said in a statement.

The Brooklyn Diocese had previously announced that its schools would be closed this week, March 16 through March 20, out of an abundance of caution. However, officials said Monday that many Catholic school families depend on city services such as bus transportation, meals, nurses, and crossing and security guards to get through the school day.

“If there was a safe way for us to open sooner, we would, but we cannot function without those essential services,” said Joan McMaster, associate superintendent for principal and teacher personnel.

Alternative instruction will be put in place for students as part of a contingency pandemic plan, officials said, with a complete transition to that model — which will include digital work — expected to take place this week.

This story first appeared on brooklynpaper.com.