SOUTHERN BROOKLYN – Two yeshivas have been ordered to shut down by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) as cases of coronavirus rise, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced.
“We’ve shut down two yeshivas. No one wants to shut down the yeshiva. That’s never something we want to do, but the Health Department deemed it was necessary, and if others have to be closed, they will be, and any situation that’s not safe has to be addressed,” de Blasio said at his press conference yesterday. “I think the outreach efforts have been consistent. I think the challenge as with everyone, everywhere is over months and months, of course, there’s some fatigue in every community about being constantly asked to follow these rules, but we’ve got to keep redoubling the effort… We’ll take whatever measures are necessary to stop this from spreading.”
The city is not releasing the names of the private schools, telling us, “We’re working directly with the schools. We are not identifying the schools at this time.” But the city’s Department of Education, on the other hand, releases the names of public schools that shut down because of COVID-19 cases.
Council Member Chaim Deutsch Tweeted, “I’ve been receiving reports that several private schools have been ordered by the Dept. of Health to close down, despite strict adherence to COVID guidelines. I intend to take up this conversation with DOH and City Hall. I expect them to justify these forced closures.”
This comes a day after the DOHMH told us that several areas in Brooklyn and Queens “are cause for significant concern” for the city when it comes to COVID-19 infection rates. The neighborhoods of concern are Williamsburg (2% infection rate), Kew Gardens (2.24%), Edgemere-Far Rockaway (3.69%), and a section of Brooklyn including Midwood, Borough Park, and Bensonhurst (4.71%) which the city is referring to as the Ocean Parkway Cluster.
The city worries that “these increases could potentially evolve into more widespread community transmission and spread to other neighborhoods unless action is taken. We are monitoring the situation for the need to take further steps in these areas.”
Currently, the DOH is urging residents to comply with restrictions in place to fight COVID-19. And as of now, two yeshivas have been shut down in Southern Brooklyn because of it.
“The Health Department has closed a limited number of schools upon identifying COVID-19 transmission within the school,” a DOH spokesperson told Bklyner. “These schools were closed to protect the health and safety of staff and students and to stop the spread of COVID-19.”