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.
March 22nd, 2021 - Family Update Letter
March 22nd, 2021
We just reopened high school buildings for in-person learning for the first time since November 2020, and I have to say that the joy on our students’ faces as they entered their school buildings was amazing. We are thrilled to see students of all ages safely learning in physical classrooms.
That is why I am very pleased to let you know that all our remote families will now have one more opportunity to transition to blended learning this school year. This means that if your child is currently learning remotely every day, they will be able to opt in to learning in person in the school building at least part of the week for the remainder of the school year. We will make every effort to provide as many days of in-person learning as possible.
When and How to Opt In to Blended Learning
- Beginning this Wednesday, March 24, you can visit the Learning Preference Survey to select blended learning for your child.
- Families can also call 311.
- You can change to blended learning until Wednesday, April 7.
When Your Student Can Return to the School Building
- Students in district 3-K, Pre-K, and grades K-5, including students in District 75, who opt into blended learning during this opt-in window will return to buildings in April.
- Students in grades 6-12 who opt into blended learning during this opt-in window will return at a later date, and we will communicate more details as soon as possible.
- Updates will be posted at https://www.schools.nyc.gov/coronavirus.
Requirements for Returning to the School Building
Please note that if you select blended learning for your child, you must submit the consent form for random COVID-19 testing by the first day your child begins in-person learning. You can submit your consent for testing one of two ways:
- Through your New York City Schools Account (NYCSA) under ‘Manage Account’, or
- Complete and sign the consent form available here and bring it to your child’s school on the first day they are back in the school building.
Families that select blended learning are expected to have their child attend in person on days they are scheduled to do so.
Please note that if your child is currently learning fully remotely and you do not complete the survey indicating a preference for blended learning, your student(s) will remain fully remote.
We are able to offer this additional chance for fully remote students to opt in to learning in buildings because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance, allowing us to safely accommodate more students in a classroom. As always, our focus is on the health and safety of your children, the dedicated staff who serve them, and you—their family. That has been our priority since day one, and will continue to guide everything we do.
Thanks to our strong health and safety practices—including wearing masks, hand hygiene, weekly random testing for COVID-19, physical distancing, and more—our school buildings are among the safest places in the whole city.
Thank you, as always, for your faith and partnership. We continue to show the nation what is possible in terms of safely educating our one million students—and we couldn’t do it without you. I thank you for your commitment and, in turn, I promise you that our commitment to your child is unwavering.
New York City Schools Chancellor
March 19th, 2021 - Family Update Letter
March 19th, 2021
This was my first week as your new Chancellor, and I couldn’t be more excited to take on this role. Not only because I am a New Yorker born and bred, but because education is in my blood. Both my mom and auntie were teachers and I became a New York City public school English teacher because of them, and the amazing educators I had as a student myself growing up in Queens.
Since I started at the DOE 21 years ago, I have also worked as an assistant principal, and then principal. More recently, I served our school communities as a superintendent and Bronx executive superintendent.
And now it is my honor and privilege to lead our schools citywide. I have spent much of this week seeing our brilliant students and educators from every borough in action, in-person and remotely. I saw pre-k students learn about the water cycle, joined sixth graders in learning ratios by mixing just the right ratio of food coloring into frosting, and joined seventh-graders in sharing special objects that reveal something about who we are. Despite all the changes and challenges we’ve faced this past year, our school communities are still joyful, vibrant places of learning.
As I reflect on this week’s visits, I am also heartened by the beautiful diversity of our classrooms, communities, and our City as a whole. In our schools, “respect for all” is not just a slogan, but a way of life. We value every student, staff member, and family for who they are. We ensure everyone feels welcomed. This is at our very core.
But the horrific anti-Asian hate crimes we’ve been seeing citywide and this week in Atlanta make it clear that we must work harder to end systemic racism. Justice and inclusivity have been pillars of my career as an educator. As Chancellor, I promise to continue to advance equity and dismantle any biases in our school system. And I want to make it clear: there is no room for racism or discrimination of any kind at the Department of Education or in any of our schools. Just this week, we provided our educators with updated resources to combat hate crimes in our schools and provide our students with social and emotional supports. You can find resources for discussing racism and hate crimes with your children at Together for Justice.
Creating environments that encourage all students to be who they are will be on my mind on March 22, when all our public high schools will begin welcoming students back to in-person and blended learning. Like elementary and middle schools, as well as our District 75 programs, high schools will follow the strong practices we have established to help keep school communities healthy and safe. This includes weekly random testing of students and staff for COVID-19, physical distancing, masks, and nightly deep cleaning. In the meantime, I’m excited about this important milestone in the city’s recovery. And I’m proud to lead a school system that has set the standard for the nation in reopening efforts.
This is such a hopeful and historic time for our schools and our city, and I want to thank you for all you have done to support our students and schools. In the coming weeks, there will be opportunities for us to meet and talk. I promise to hear and include your voices as we finish out this school year and plan for the next.
Let’s go. Let’s do this. We’re ready.
New York City Schools Chancellor
March 2nd, 2021 - Family Update Letter
March 2nd, 2021
Last Friday, I shared that I will be stepping down later this month, passing the privilege and responsibility of being Chancellor to Meisha Porter, a 20-year veteran of the DOE currently serving as Bronx Executive Superintendent. As Executive Superintendent Porter and I work together on the transition, I want to make sure you are aware of some important opportunities coming up over the next few weeks.
First, I’m beyond thrilled that we have finally reopened our middle schools for in-person learning. This is a milestone I have been looking forward to and I was excited to visit middle schools to see our students and teachers hard at work in healthy, safe, and supportive classrooms. As with our elementary grades, all middle schools have 20 percent of students and staff randomly tested on a weekly basis. Just as in our elementary grades, middle school students must also provide consent for COVID-19 testing by their first scheduled in-person learning day. You can do this through your NYC Schools Account at mystudent.nyc.
We are all-hands-on-deck to reopen our high schools as quickly as possible. Our main focus continues to be making sure we have every safety precaution in place, and we will announce a timeline soon.
As we enter the last few months of the school year, I’m pleased to offer several programs and opportunities to further support you and your children. In this Update for Families, you will find important information and resources on:
- Preparing for Parent Teacher Conferences
- Applying for Pre-K and 3-K for Fall 2021
- Participating in “Weekend Wellness” activities for families and communities
I realize we’re all experiencing pandemic fatigue, but when I see what our students are accomplishing—both in-person and remotely—I am reminded of why we have all worked so hard these past 11 months. My pledge to you is as true today as it was when I began leading the most innovative school system in the nation: that all of us at the Department of Education will continue to deliver the best possible education to all our students, in the safest possible environments.
Richard A. Carranza
New York City Department of Education
February 11th, 2021 - Family Update Letter
February 11th, 2021
It is hard to believe we are already in the second half of this unusual school year. I am so grateful for your continued perseverance and flexibility during these difficult times, including the added challenges of our recent snowstorms.
Your voice and leadership are important, and I want to briefly share how you can use them to help our schools and students in a very important way. You can now apply to run for a seat in the coming election for Community and Citywide Education Councils. As a member of a Council, you are a voice for your community—and you can help make a direct impact on education policy. This includes through hosting Town Halls with me, collaborating with superintendents to improve student achievement, and advising on school building changes.
Each of the 32 geographic school districts has a Community Education Council, and there are four Citywide Councils: High Schools, English Language Learners, Special Education, and District 75. To apply to be a candidate for a council, simply log into your NYC Schools Account (NYCSA) to get started. If you don’t have a NYCSA account, you can sign up for one at mystudent.nyc and then contact your parent coordinator to add your students. You can submit your application through February 28.
Later in the year, for the first time ever, parents and guardians with a child in a New York City public school will have the chance to vote for their preferred Community Education Council candidates and have a direct hand in shaping important decisions in our city. You need a NYCSA account to vote, so if you don’t have one, again, please sign up at mystudent.nyc. Whether as a candidate or a voter, I very much hope you will take advantage of these opportunities to impact our schools.
In other news, I am excited to share that we will be reopening our middle schools for in-person learning on Thursday, February 25. We have developed strong practices to help keep school communities healthy and safe. If you have a student in grades 6-8 and selected blended learning, your child’s principal will reach out with their new schedule. All schools will have 20 percent of students and staff randomly tested on a weekly basis. Students who have not already done so are required to provide consent for testing by their first scheduled in-person learning day in order to learn in person. I encourage families to submit consent through your NYC Schools Account prior to your child’s first day of in-person learning.
And here’s some good news for families currently applying to middle or high school: We’re giving you more time to submit your applications. The new deadline to apply to middle school is February 23 and the new deadline for eighth- and ninth-grade families to submit their high school application is March 1. As a reminder, you can apply one of three ways: online at MySchools.nyc, through your child’s current school counselor, or through a Family Welcome Center (schools.nyc.gov/WelcomeCenters).
This is an exciting and important time in our schools, as together we celebrate both Black History Month and Respect for All Week. Our educators and students across the city are engaged in thoughtful exploration of these issues as they connect to our lives and our national experience. Having this conversation deepens our understanding of how we can make progress toward justice and fairness. You can find some great resources to help with these discussions on the DOE’s official blog The Morning Bell at morningbellnyc.com/2021/commemorate-bhm and at morningbellnyc.com/2021/celebrate-rfa-week. You can also enroll in courses related to Black History Month on Parent University at parentu.schools.nyc
Thank you again for working alongside us as we educate your children. We know how important school is for your student, whether they are learning remotely or in person—and our dedication to them remains unwavering during this challenging time.
I hope you and your families enjoy the upcoming midwinter recess, February 15–19. And Happy Lunar New Year to those who celebrate on February 12!
Richard A. Carranza
New York City Department of Education