Schools to Close in Brooklyn Diocese, Leaders Work to Calm Coronavirus Anxieties

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By Christine Persichette

Schools throughout the Brooklyn Diocese are shutting down next week so the buildings can be cleaned and sanitized. Most students will have access to online learning.

On March 12, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Academy in Forest Hills and American Martyrs Church in Bayside were both closed after it was discovered an individual with ties to both locations has a suspected case of the virus.  

Other schools in New York City, including Success Academy Charter Schools, are also closing their doors for now.

Governor Andrew Cuomo was in New Rochelle, New York March 13, where the state has implemented a containment zone because the suburb has the highest cluster of coronavirus cases in the country.  

The National Guard has been deployed to help.

“The National Guard is not here to maintain a perimeter but rather to assist with operations and logistics such as the delivery of meals to public school students, the distribution of supplies, cleaning public facilities,” said New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson.

A drive through COVID-19 testing center has been opened there for residents. Cuomo said the federal government is now going to let individual states regulate their own labs and authorize more testing.

“We do have a crisis in testing,” he said. “We’re not up to scale. We need to change that quickly and let the federal government turn that function over to the states.”

Meanwhile, anxious New Yorkers are clearing the shelves at stores, stocking up on anything and everything. The city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio said that’s understandable, but not necessary.  

He’s also squashing rumors of a subway shutdown and a citywide quarantine.

“Anxiety and fear are some of the issues we have to deal with on a continuing basis and that is the responsibility of everybody including the media,” Michael Dowling, CEO of Northwell Health. “We have to deal with the issue, but we also have to deal with the issue of anxiety.”