The NYC Health Department closed two schools in Bedford Stuyvesant on Monday for failing to comply with an order in response to the current measles outbreak.
The emergency order issued by the city at the beginning of April requires yeshivas and child care programs in four Brooklyn zip codes to exclude unvaccinated students, and to provide medical and attendance records to the department.
The school Tiferes Bnos, at 585 Marcy Avenue, and preschool Talmud Torah D’Nitra, at 1007 Bedford Avenue, will not be allowed to reopen until the health department approves “an action plan that addresses the ongoing lapses in complying with the order,” officials said.
“Schools that continue to disregard our direction during the outbreak will be closed down until they can prove to the Health Department that they will comply,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “The reality is, the longer it takes schools and individuals to comply with our order, the longer this outbreak will continue.”
Since the beginning of the measles outbreak last October, the city has confirmed 423 cases, 82 percent of which have occurred in Williamsburg. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recorded more than 700 cases of measles in 22 states — the highest number of reported cases in the U.S. since 1994. Just six years later, the disease was declared eliminated in the U.S.
In response to the growing number of measle cases, the Health Department declared on April 9 a public health emergency and issued an order, requiring adults and children ages 6 months and older who live, work or go to school in four zip codes — 11205, 11206, 11211 and 11249 — to get vaccinated with the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine by April 12. New Yorkers in violation of the order would face a $1,000 penalty, and those failing to respond to the civil summons would be hit with a $2,000 fine, the department announced.
So far, 57 individuals have received summonses for being non-compliant with the emergency order. The city also had previously closed five schools for failing to comply with the emergency order, but all have since been allowed to reopen.
The Health Department will continue to expand its outreach to provide education about the dangers of measles and the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine, officials said.