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.
September 2020 - Family Update on COVID-19 Testing
September 29, 2020
We are so excited to welcome you back into our school building! As we begin this new school year, the health and safety of all students and staff remains our top concern. That’s why many things in our school buildings will look different this year, from face masks to physical distancing in every classroom to disinfecting every school, every night. We are taking all of these steps to ensure that our schools remain safe, our students and staff stay healthy, and that you feel confident sending your children for in-person learning.
Today we are writing to ask for your help with another important element of our health and safety work: testing our students and staff for COVID-19. Keeping school buildings open depends on helping us stay aware of and take immediate action to address COVID-19 concerns in our buildings. That’s why we have partnered with NYC Health + Hospitals, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the NYC Test & Trace Corps to arrange for testing of NYC DOE students and staff for COVID-19 infection.
Our testing partners will test a randomly selected group of staff and students in schools once per month. The number of children and staff to be tested each month will depend on the size of the school population. In addition to the random monthly testing, we are also working hard to offer in-school testing later this year for students who are showing symptoms of COVID-19, or are a confirmed close contact of someone in the school who has tested positive. The test is easy, quick, and safe. Instead of the “long swab” that goes in the back of the nose, this test is a short, small swab (like a Q-Tip) that goes just in the front of the nose. Later this school year, it is possible that tests will be administered by collecting a small amount of saliva (spit).
Monthly testing of randomly selected staff and students is a vital part of our efforts to prevent COVID-19 transmission in our buildings, because it helps identify positive COVID-19 cases when symptoms are not present. As with other health and safety measures we are requiring to keep our staff and students safe, the success of this testing initiative relies on the partnership and cooperation of staff and students.
While consent to testing is not mandatory, providing our testing partners with a sufficient monthly sample size to identify the prevalence of COVID-19 is critical in our ongoing fight against this virus and to ensure we can keep school communities in school buildings for in-person learning. For the safety of our school community, students who do not have consent forms on file may be required to learn remotely if we do not receive forms from enough students in the school.
We want to assure you that if your child is selected for testing but is uncomfortable or unable to be tested, we will not test your child and will work with you to address any concerns so that they can participate in future testing. We are focused on making this a brief, and gentle experience for our students, led by trained testers.
If your child is tested, we will let you know they were tested and when and how you will receive the results, which will typically be provided within 48-72 hours.
We know you likely have questions, and we are sharing more information in the attached Frequently Asked Questions document. Please review this with your child. Testing in schools will begin in October. You can reach out to your school at any time with any questions or concerns.
We deeply appreciate your partnership and your commitment to keeping your school community safe and healthy.
Dave A. Chokshi, MD, MSc
Commissioner, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Ted Long, MD, MHS
Executive Director, NYC Test & Trace Corps
Richard A. Carranza
Chancellor, New York City Department of Education