BROOKLYN (JTA) – Police shut down an Orthodox yeshiva in Brooklyn on Monday for violations of social distancing.
Approximately 60 students were present at the Nitra Yeshiva in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood when the police arrived, according to a New York Police Department spokesperson. Many of the teenage students were not wearing masks or adhering to social distancing, WNBC-TV reported, though a message accompanying a photo circulating on the messaging platform WhatsApp claimed the students were wearing masks and adhering to social distancing.
Officers instructed school leaders to close the yeshiva and the students dispersed.
Mayor de Blasio reacted to the closure, saying “I can’t stress how dangerous this is for our young people.”
Earlier today the NYPD shut down a Yeshiva conducting classes with as many as 70 children. I can’t stress how dangerous this is for our young people. We’re issuing a Cease and Desist Order and will make sure we keep our communities and our kids safe.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) May 18, 2020
The closure comes weeks after a large Hasidic funeral in Williamsburg, also in Brooklyn, drew thousands into the street, drawing the ire of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Days after New York Gov. Cuomo issued an executive order in mid-March closing schools across the state, he clarified that the order also applied to private schools such as yeshivas. Last month, Cuomo extended the order to include the rest of the school year.