Many schools in Italy and Japan have closed indefinitely as coronavirus spreads rapidly. Mass school closures of that magnitude have not yet become necessary in the United States, but a New York boarding school with ties to Japan is closing for the year just in case.
Keio Academy of New York in Westchester County is shutting down for the remainder of the school year, despite not having any confirmed cases of coronavirus — it's simply a precaution.
The school has an enrollment of about 320 students, with most of them coming from Asia, Europe, and South America. Keio Academy is affiliated with Keio University in Japan. From the New York Post:
Japan currently has 502 confirmed cases of the virus, and six people there have died from it — putting it in the top 10 countries globally who have been the hardest hit.
"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," Rieko Ivy, director of development at the school, said in a statement.
Students will continue their studies online for the rest of the year, which runs through the end of May. All athletics programs for the spring semester have been canceled.
Three Jewish day schools in Westchester County have closed temporarily after being tied to an outbreak, although there is only one confirmed case in any of those schools right now.
As of Monday, the state of New York had 142 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) declared a state of emergency over the weekend.
A number of other schools around the state have closed temporarily this week, including some public schools and private universities like Columbia, Hofstra, and Yeshiva.
In New Jersey, Princeton will move to online classes for a two-week period beginning March 23.