Coronavirus Updates & Resources
Daily Health Screenings for Students
The Department of Education is asking that children going to school complete a daily health screening (including temperature checks) before they enter buildings. We encourage you to use the Online Health Screening Tool each day that your child attends school in-person.
You can find the online health screening at healthscreening.schools.nyc. When you do the screening at home, you or your child just need to provide the results of the screening either by showing the email on a smartphone or a printout of the results before entering the school building.
If you or your child forgets or is unable to pre-screen, someone will be available at your school's entrance to assist your child in completing the form and checking your child’s temperature.
In order to keep everyone healthy and slow the spread of COVID, students will not be able to attend classes if they have:
Experienced any symptoms of COVID-19
Received a positive COVID-19 test result in the past 10 days;
Been in close contact (within 6 feet for at least 10 minutes) with anyone who tested positive for COVID or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days
Traveled internationally or from a state with high levels of COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
As always, please keep your child home if they are sick.
Testing for COVID-19
It’s up to all of us to keep our school communities and families safe by wearing face coverings, keeping our distance, washing hands frequently, and getting tested!
Help us keep our schools open and school communities healthy by getting tested for COVID-19. It’s safe, free, and easy for everyone, regardless of immigration or insurance status. To find a testing site near you, visit nyc.gov/covidtest.
Students in 3K through twelfth grade can get priority testing at 22 Health + Hospitals testing sites throughout the school year. To find a location near you, visit schools.nyc.gov/covidtesting.
Beginning in early October, the DOE will begin testing a random sampling of students and staff in every school. This is essential to keeping your family and school community healthy and safe. We’ll be sharing much more information and a link to a parent/guardian consent form in our next family update.
Transportation to and from School
School buses will have only 25% of students to ensure safe social distancing. Seating on the bus will be marked to show students to where they can sit.
- If students do not have a face covering, the bus driver will provide one. Drivers and attendants will also wear face coverings and gloves. Before sending children on a bus, family members should screen their children’s health at home, including temperature checks, to make certain they are well enough to board a bus and attend school.
- Buses will operate with the windows open if possible.
- Upon arrival at a destination, students will be directed to exit one row at a time.
- Each night, all school transportation vehicles will be cleaned and disinfected following CDC protocols.
Public Transportation and Other Alternatives
Schools will provide free MetroCards to blended-learning students and families for travel to and from school.
- When using public transportation, students will be expected to follow the same social distancing and face covering rules as all New Yorkers.
- For more about MTA procedures, visit mta.info/coronavirus.
Other Important Information
Health and Safety Measures in Schools
To learn more about building safety, food services in schools, testing and tracing, and personal health measures all schools are taking to keep your children safe, visit schools.nyc.gov/RTShealthsafety.
What Teaching and Learning Looks Like This Year
To learn more about blended learning, social-emotional learning and mental health, supports for multilingual/English language learners, students with disabilities, students in temporary housing and foster care, students who are 21 or older, and students in early childhood programs, visit schools.nyc.gov/RTSteachinglearning.
School Schedules for Elementary, Middle, and High Schools
To learn more about schedules, sibling schedules, and what happens when students come to school on the wrong day during blended learning, visit schools.nyc.gov/RTSschedules.
December 22nd, 2020 - Family Update Letter
December 22, 2020
Before we part for Winter Recess, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for all you have done to keep the learning going during this unforgettable year.
Our families and educators are the hearts and souls of our school communities, and everything we have gotten right this year, we owe to you. To the sacrifices you have made to ensure your children thrive in an era of blended and remote learning. To your trust in our public schools. To your personal feedback to me—whether positive or negative, it has helped me and everyone at the DOE better serve you and your children.
Although the holidays will look very different this year, there is still much to celebrate. I hope you take time to rejoice, relax, connect with loved ones near and far—and reflect on the acts of kindness and compassion that have lifted your lives these past 12 months.
As we look ahead to the rest of the school year, we are unwavering in our focus to deliver the highest-quality education possible to each of your children. We do this to prepare them for a successful, productive life, empowered with the skills they need to chase their dreams. To that end, last week we announced changes to the middle and high school admissions process, which will open in January. Beginning next year, our middle schools will not use academic records, auditions, or other screens or assessments to evaluate or admit students, and high schools will phase out geographic priorities. This will result in a fairer process for all New York City public school families. To learn more, please visit schools.nyc.gov/middle or schools.nyc.gov/high.
We know there’s more to do, and we are united in our mission to make sure your child—and every one of their 1.1 million peers—receives the best education possible in the greatest city in the world.
On behalf of all of us at the Department of Education, I wish you and your loved ones a beautiful holiday season and a happy new year. Please stay safe and well, and we look forward to seeing you in 2021!
Richard A. Carranza
New York City Department of Education
December 15th, 2020 - Family Update Letter
December 15th, 2020
I hope you are safe and well.
As we head into winter, it’s likely we will have inclement weather that in an ordinary year would cause all schools to close for teaching and learning. This year, if a snowstorm or other weather demands that school buildings close, all schools will still conduct remote learning on that day. All students will be expected to log on and engage with their work from home as they do on other days when they learn remotely. Middle and high school students who are already learning remotely every day are expected to attend school remotely, regardless of the weather.
The ability to teach and learn remotely across the system allows us to continue learning despite inclement weather closures. You will still be notified as usual when we are closing buildings due to weather, but these will not be days off from learning.
Your school will stay in close communication with you regarding the upcoming snowstorm predicted to affect New York City beginning the evening of Wednesday, December 16. Please note that extra meals will be available on Tuesday, December 15 and Wednesday, December 16 to take home.
Please do not hesitate to contact your principal if you have any questions.
Richard A. Carranza
Chancellor, New York City Department of Education
Dave A. Chokshi, MD, MSc
Commissioner New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
November 30th, 2020 - Re-opening School Buildings
November 30, 2020
I hope you have had a restful break, and an opportunity to enjoy time with family.
As you are aware, on November 18, we temporarily closed school buildings for teaching and learning, and all New York City public school students transitioned to fully remote learning. Today, I am pleased to write to you with our plan to reopen school buildings for in-person instruction for many of our students. As always, health and safety remain our highest priorities, and this letter also contains information regarding mandatory weekly in-school testing for COVID-19 in all reopened buildings, and how you can submit the required consent forms.
The guidance below applies to students in blended learning, who have already chosen to learn in the school building part of the week, and from home the rest of the week. Students who chose fully remote learning prior to building closures will continue to learn remotely full time.
When can my child return to in-person learning?
- Students in Grades 3K through Grade 5 will return to in-person learning beginning on Monday, December 7.
- This includes all students in grades 3K through 5, across early education and elementary school types (e.g., in K-2 schools, K-3 schools, K-5 schools, as well as District Pre-K Centers, K-8 schools, and K-12 schools).
- This excludes schools currently located in State-designated Orange Zones, or Red Zones if they are declared. You can see if your school is currently in an Orange Zone using the NYC COVID Zone map(Open external link)
- Students in all grade levels in District 75 will return to in-person learning beginning on Thursday, December 10.
- This excludes schools located in State-designated Orange Zones. You can see if your school is currently in an Orange Zone using the NYC COVID Zone map(Open external link)
- Students in grades 6 through 12 (outside of District 75) will continue to learn remotely until further notice.
- Students who have recently traveled outside of New York to a place on the State’s travel advisory list must quarantine for 14 days. You also have the option of testing out of quarantine based on the State’s guidelines(Open external link)Students should continue to complete the health questionnaire daily. '
- These return dates apply to students in blended learning, including those who selected blended learning during the recent opt-in period.
What do I need to do to return to my school building?
In order for your child to return to in-person learning, you must submit the consent form for in-school COVID-19 testing by the first day your child returns to their school building. Testing will happen weekly for a random selection of staff and students in your child’s school. Given the ongoing fight against a citywide resurgence of COVID-19, this mandatory weekly testing for COVID-19 is a crucial part of our plan to keep all schools safe. Any student in grade 1 or higher returning to school buildings must submit a consent form for COVID-19 testing in school by their first day back in school buildings.
- Any student in grade 1 or higher returning to school buildings must submit a consent form for COVID-19 testing in school by their first day back. 3K, Pre-K, and Kindergarten students are excluded from random testing.
- The test is quick, safe, and easy. A video showing the testing process is available on our COVID Testing page.
How do I submit consent?
Submitting consent to have your child tested for COVID-19 in school is quick and easy. Even if you have already submitted consent, we ask you to do so again to ensure your student has the latest consent form on file. There are two easy ways to submit:
Fill out the form online using a New York City Schools Account (NYCSA)
- If you already have a NYCSA account linked to your student(s): Log in, click your student’s name, click “Manage Account,” and then when a dropdown menu appears, click “Consent Forms.” Read the page, and then choose the consent option at the end for your student.
- If you do not already have a NYCSA account: You can create one right away! If you have an account creation code from your school, you can create a full account in approximately five minutes, and then provide consent as described above. If you do not have an account creation code from your school, you can still provide your consent right away by clicking “Manage Consent” under “COVID-19 Testing” and filling out your and your child’s information to provide consent.
Print and sign the attached form and bring it to your child’s school on the first day they are back in the school building. A printable PDF file is available in ten languages on our COVID Testing page.
Can my child receive an exemption from weekly random testing?
Exemptions will only be granted in certain limited cases:
- For students who need a medical exemption, due to a health condition that would make it unsafe to undergo testing (e.g., facial trauma, nasal surgery), you will be able to submit a separate form for consideration. This form must be signed by a physician and you must submit medical documentation from a health care provider.
- For students with disabilities who cannot be safely tested in school due to the nature of their disability, you will be able to submit a separate request for an exemption.
- The exemption forms will be available in English on Monday, November 30 at on our COVID Testing page. Translations will be available shortly thereafter.
What happens if I don’t submit consent?
You must submit consent by the day that your child returns to your school building; this is the due date, and we need all students to participate.
- If your child comes to school on their first day back for in-person instruction without a consent form on file, principals and school staff will contact you to obtain consent.
- After that, students without consent forms on file, who do not have a medical or disability-based exemption submitted, must be moved to fully remote instruction. More information on exemptions will be provided by your child’s school principal this week.
What if my child’s school is in an Orange or Red Zone?
- As of now, schools in Orange Zones remain closed for in-person learning. We are working with the State to develop a plan to reopen buildings in Orange Zones as soon as possible.
- We will share information as soon as a plan is confirmed with the State of New York.
- There are currently no Red Zones in New York City, but per the State, school buildings in Red Zones would also be closed.
As always, I am grateful for your flexibility and patience as we continue our journey together through this unprecedented year. All of us at the DOE are focused on a strong, supportive education for your child every day—no matter where they are learning—and that will never change.
We look forward to welcoming students back into school buildings in the coming weeks.
Richard A. Carranza
Chancellor, New York City Department of Education