COVID outbreak forces Bay Ridge Prep to dismiss for winter break early

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Bay Ridge Prep Upper School closed for winter break early due to an outbreak of COVID cases.
Photo courtesy of Google Maps

Bay Ridge Prep dismissed its Upper School for holiday break early due to high number of COVID cases among students and staff.

The school was set to close winter break on Dec. 21. However, a spokesperson told Brooklyn Paper, school leadership decided to end the semester on Dec. 19 as 64 students — or 35% of the student body — was absent due to a positive COVID test or symptoms consistent with the respiratory illness. 

Anthony Hazell, communications director for Bay Ridge Prep, said 38 individuals, including students and teachers, tested positive within four days. As more teachers called out, administrators struggled to secure coverage for the classrooms. In a letter sent out to parents on Dec. 19, Hazell also said some classrooms didn’t have enough students present to continue with their scheduled lesson plans and group assignments.

With Christmas less than a week away, administrators made the decision to let out early, as they wanted to protect those who weren’t sick and “safeguard against any further disruptions to holiday gatherings.”

The school informed parents about the increased cases on Dec. 17, and said school leaders would be watching numbers more closely, providing more masks, and ventilating classrooms by opening windows.

Bay Ridge Prep students are expected to return to school on Jan. 8. Administrators said they plan to keep following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health department recommendations. 

According to city data, New York has had 868 COVID cases in the last seven days. As of Dec. 11, Brooklyn reported the lowest rate of transmission in the city.