There is not a single case of coronavirus at the exclusive Keio Academy located in New York state’s Westchester County.
But there are not any classes taking place there either, now that the school has closed for the year out of fear over the coronavirus instead of going through the end of May as is its usual custom.
Keio Academy, an elite boarding school in Westchester County, is closing for the remainder of the school year over coronavirus concerns, despite no cases being reported at the school.https://t.co/jx4gHTmFlA
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) March 8, 2020
“After consideration of all the medical facts and advice, the Board of Trustees has decided that it must act now in the interests of our students’ safety and wellbeing,” said Rieko Ivy, director of development at the school, which is linked to Keio University in Japan.
Ivy said it is the first time the private school, most of whose students board there, has closed early, according to the Rockland/Westchester Journal News.
“This is our precautious decision before any case should occur,” Ivy said.
In a statement posted on the school’s website calling the closure, “An Occasion to Teach and Learn Online,” the school said it was acting “to protect students’ safety and health at the first priority.”
“The prudent course of action for the safety of our students and the effective management of the situation is to anticipate an increase of cases in the School to reach a large number during the coming months and render the School an infection cluster,” the statement said, adding that classes will now be held online.
The pricey school costs over $50,000 a year for students who live on the school grounds and more than $35,000 for those who live regionally.
On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo indicated that the New Rochelle School District is likely to also close, labeling the area a “significant hot spot” for coronavirus transmission, according to WCBS. At one point Monday, Cuomo said the school was already closed when in fact it was open.
New Rochelle schools may close for weeks: Cuomo https://t.co/ArDxq7uYgu
— lohud.com (@lohud) March 9, 2020
School officials and parents pushed back.
“If our decision is based on fear, we’ll be making knee-jerk reactions to a situation that demands a high level of contemplation and respect,” Board of Education president Amy Moselhi said.
“I do believe that keeping them open until there’s a first case is probably the wisest move, because the students in New Rochelle are not like the students in Scarsdale. Some people really need the services that that are provided in our school district,” parent Lauren Pekats said.
Cuomo also issued an edict insisting that if any students in a school test positive, those schools must close for at least 24 hours.
Cuomo termed that decision a precaution.
“So that we can do an assessment of the situation and the facts, and then make a determination going forward given the facts in the particular school district,” Cuomo said.
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