New Orleans JCCs closing for two weeks after COVID-19 exposure

Both locations of the Jewish Community Center in New Orleans will be closing for two weeks, effective at 5 p.m. today, according to an announcement made mid-day today.

The JCC board “unanimously” voted to take the measure last night. Originally, today was to be the last day for the preschool, and fitness facilities were to remain open through March 15, but after being informed this morning that someone who visited the Uptown location earlier this week has tested positive for COVID-19, the decision was made to close all facilities at the end of today.

In the announcement, Executive Director Leslie Fischman said after they heard about the exposure, they notified the Louisiana Department of Health. “Medical experts tell us that the only way to stop the spread of this virus is to distance ourselves from people, and the best way to do this is to close our facilities,” she said.

The two-week time frame is what is currently anticipated. The timing may change with additional information from local health professionals and the Center for Disease Control.

Fischman said the decision was made in consultation with “trusted medical advisors” and with “careful research.”

“Everyone at the JCC knows how big a part of the community we have been for decades and understands that this closure will be disruptive,” she said. “We only wish we had a safe solution to continue to remain open as we all face this current health crisis.”

The Uptown JCC houses the JCC’s preschool program. The Metairie campus also has the offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and the Jewish Community Day School. Governor John Bel Edwards just announced that all public schools will be closed from March 16 to April 13. JCDS has announced it will stay closed during that time frame, after previously announcing a closure of two weeks.