At Good Shepherd Catholic Academy, a welcome back sign is displayed in a classroom window, but students weren't allowed inside Tuesday after city and state officials ordered all schools in this ZIP code closed because of a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Students and parents gathered in the playground to protest the shutdown.
"My class and everyone was very upset because we were doing so good and now we're just shut down,” said one fifth grade student.
"It's a little unfair that we're closing down. We did nothing wrong,” added another.
Parents echoed their children, saying everything had been going right according to plan since the school opened in early September.
Students in pre-kindergarten and the lower grades were getting in-class instruction five days a week.
Those in the upper grades were learning both in classrooms and remotely. The academy said there was not one COVID-19 case among its 300 students.
"Parents have contributed money in order to retrofit our school with the humidifiers, air purifiers, ventilation, temperature checks, hygiene products, PPE,” said parent David Evans.
That's in addition to the $5,000 tuition fee. The Brooklyn Diocese oversees Good Shepherd, as well as six other Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens that were forced to close.
"We were disheartened that the decision was made based on ZIP code data,” said Brooklyn Diocese Associate Superintendent Joan McMaster. “Safety and health remain a top priority at all of our schools. Our request really is, could those decisions of closures be made looking at individual school data rather than on a blanket ZIP code?"
On Tuesday afternoon, Governor Cuomo doubled down on shuttering most schools across large parts of Southern and Central Brooklyn, highlighting them in red, as part of his new shutdown plan. The plan is based on zones rather than ZIP codes, but either way, Good Shepherd is on the hot spot map.
Parents said the sudden lockdown is traumatic for their children.
"It's an emotional train wreck for them and this needs to end,” said one parent.
"I'm more concerned about their mental health at this point than anything else,” said another.
Some parents threatened legal action.
"Sometimes you have to sue to make noise, and if that's what we’ve got to do to get our schools back open, that's what we're going to do,” said Evans.
Cuomo said reopenings will depend on how well the coronavirus is contained after 14 days.