Parents and students from the Queen of the Rosary Catholic Academy in Williamsburg took to the streets to protest, hoping to reverse the decision by the Diocese of Brooklyn to permanently close the school.
"Its not fair because we didn't get a chance," said one student who spoke with NY1.
Last week, the diocese emailed parents, describing how the pandemic had taken a toll on enrollment and church finances, which in turn made it "no longer possible to reopen the Academy."
Queen of the Rosary is one of 20 Catholic schools around the city being closed by the Diocese of Brooklyn, which includes Queens, and the Archdiocese of New York, which includes Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx.
"I was surprised because I have been there for six years since I was three and I always looked up to graduating from that school," said Carlie Mosquera, a student at Queen of the Rosary Catholic Academy.
"We have been there almost all our life, so it is really sad to hear that the school we were at our entire life is closing," said Kaylany Lozano, another student.
Now, parents say they are scrambling to find arrangements for their children before the school year begins.
With schools guaranteed to look different come September because of the coronavirus, parents say they don't want their kids to also have to adjust to a new school.
"New friends, new teachers — it is going to be tough,” said parent Joe Regano. “Children are going through a lot right now, this is the last thing they needed during a pandemic.”
Parents have started a petition online and are asking for more transparency in what led to the decision.
"If the diocese would have told us that the school was in a dire place, we would have came out in full force just like this to put together a master plan and help save the school. We received no notice, no transparency, we want answers to our questions,” said one parent.
The pandemic has exacerbated financial pressures that have been plaguing many Catholic schools in the city because of changing neighborhoods and demographic trends.
The diocese says this school has nearly $900,000 in outstanding bills.
“We understand this is a distressing time for parents and students of Queen of the Rosary Catholic Academy,” the diocese said in a statement. “It is never easy to close a school, but the financial situation has left no other choice."