Brooklyn Friends School closes amid coronavirus fears

Brooklyn Friends School (Photo by Chandler Kidd)


A Downtown Brooklyn private school will close for two weeks amid coronavirus fears, school authorities announced on Monday.

“Out of an abundance of precaution and care, we are cancelling classes in all divisions and our Family Center as of 6:00 this evening,” wrote Crissy Cáceres, the principal of Brooklyn Friends School, in an all-school email on March 9. “As our Spring Break is to begin at week’s end, I know that this news comes as sudden to you.”

The private school, with two locations on Pearl and Willoughby streets near MetroTech, will remain closed from March 10 through 13, and the school will cancel its upcoming spring break camp for elementary schoolers that runs from the 18th to the 22nd, Cáceres announced.

Authorities decided to close the school after learning that a community member may have been exposed to a relative who has been exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, Cáceres said. The relative has not been able to access a test to confirm the diagnosis. 

“Due to the shortage of tests, the individual displaying symptoms does not have access to testing at this time,” Cáceres wrote. 

Brooklyn Friends School appears to be the first Brooklyn school and the second school citywide to close over coronavirus fears. The Brearley School in Manhattan will close its middle and upper school through March 13, and several universities including Columbia University, Barnard College, Yeshiva University and Fordham University have either suspended classes or are conducting classes remotely, according to NBC

The closure comes hours after authorities confirmed the first two coronavirus cases in Brooklyn, bringing the citywide count to 20. Mayor Bill de Blasio said this morning that there are no plans to close public or private schools because of the virus, but that any school with confirmed diagnosis will temporarily close.

“We would only consider closing any particular school for very specific reas‎ons and for as brief a period of time as possible,” he said at a Brooklyn press conference, held not far from Brooklyn Friends School.

This story first appeared on brooklynpaper.com.