The Tablet Staff
UPDATE: In a statement, Superintendent of Schools Thomas Chadzutko, Ed. D., has announced today all elementary Catholic Academies and Parish Schools in Brooklyn and Queens will remain closed until April 20, 2020.
This follows last week’s announcement that the schools would be closed this week, March 16-March 20, 2020, out of an abundance of caution. The decision mirrors the New York City public schools announcement made last night.
All elementary Catholic academies and parish schools within the Diocese of Brooklyn will be closed from Monday, March 16, to Friday, March 20, Superintendent of Schools Thomas Chadzutko announced March 13.
“The decision to close schools was made out of an abundance of caution due to the rapidly changing situation surrounding the Coronavirus and after further consultation with representatives of city and state agencies,” a statement from the Brooklyn Diocese reads. “For your information, there are no confirmed cases in our schools reported to us by the New York City Department of Health.”
Monday, March 16, will be used as a professional day for teachers to develop their distance learning plans.
Beginning on Tuesday, March 17, students of the diocese’s schools and academies will have access to online learning. “While we understand that not all families may have access to online learning, we have directed all academies to utilize alternative instructional processes,” Chadzutko said.
School administrators are communicating and coordinating daily with the New York City Department of Health, Department of Education and the Mayor’s Office in order to assess the ongoing situation.
On March 12, parishioners and parents were informed of a suspected case of coronavirus relating to an individual with connections to both Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Academy in Forest Hills and American Martyrs Roman Catholic Church in Bayside.
This case remains unconfirmed. At this time, American Martyrs Church remains closed until March 14.
Classes at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Academy were suspended for the remainder of the week, prior to alert of the diocese-wide school closure.
The Brooklyn Diocese is currently implementing pro-active policies which follow New York City Department of Health and Department of Education guidelines. These policies include cleaning all schools twice a week, per CDC regulations.
The Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of New York has also called for the closing of all elementary schools next week, according to a March 12 press release.
Catholic schools within the archdiocese may extend the length of the school closure, if deemed necessary.
The decision “was made out of an abundance of caution” noting the health and safety of students, staff and families as of the utmost importance at this time.
As of 4 p.m. March 12, 95 individuals had tested positive for the coronavirus in New York City, according to the NYC Department of Health.
All activities and all sporting events and practices relating to Catholic Youth Organizations and the Catholic High School Athletic Associations have also been cancelled indefinitely.
“We are continuing to monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19 (Coronavirus),” the release continues. “It is rapidly changing and we are closely following the advice of city, state and federal health officials.”
According to the press release, principals and teachers have already been preparing educational materials for home-based learning
The Archdiocese of Newark, N.J. also announced March 12 that all Catholic schools will be closed for the next week.
Public weekend Masses for Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15 in the Archdiocese of Newark have been canceled, following recommendations of state and health officials. Religious education activities will also be suspended until March 20.
Churches in the Archdiocese of Newark will remain open throughout that week and daily Masses will continue.
“Sacramental celebrations such as weddings, baptisms, or funerals will be permitted, but attendance should be limited to immediate family members only,” the statement continued.
To read the latest updates regarding coronavirus concerns in the Brooklyn Diocese, go to https://thetablet.org/coronavirus.
Parents can monitor Catholic academy and parish school websites through the next week for further updates, or consult the Diocesan Coronavirus section of the Catholic Schools of Brooklyn and Queens website for more information: https://catholicschoolsbq.org/
Click here to read the March 16 statement from Diocese of Brooklyn regarding closures until April 20.
Click here to read the statement from Diocese of Brooklyn regarding school closures:
Click here to read the March 2 letter to parents regarding coronavirus concerns in Catholics schools of Brooklyn and Queens:
Click here to read the statement from the Archdiocese of New York regarding school closures.