Returning to In-Person Schooling
We were excited to welcome students back into school, whether remotely or in-person, over the last two weeks.
After all we have been through this year, it is wonderful to see students interacting with each other and their teachers, doing science experiments, creating art, discussing literature—in school buildings buzzing with activity.
Safely welcoming our children back to a brick and mortar classroom this fall is a milestone for our school system and our city as a while. We are the only major city in the nation to do this and it couldn’t have happened without our families.
Thank you for your support and faith in our public schools.
Each day we work to earn that faith by protecting the health and safety of all students and staff.
That’s why many things in our school buildings look different this year: from wearing face masks to physical distancing in every classroom to disinfecting every school, every night, and much more.
We are taking all these steps so that our schools remain safe and open and so that families can feel confident sending their children for in-person learning.
Our vision for the fall is safe, strong, and supportive learning for every student. School will be in session 5 days per week – whether our students are in their school buildings or learning remotely at home.
COVID-19 Testing in Schools
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.
DOE has 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. Testing will be provided by, among others, school nurses, City staff, and our partners: SOMOS, Bio Reference Laboratory, and Fulgent Genetics. 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.
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). If a child is selected for testing but is uncomfortable or unable to be tested, the child will not best tested and the school will work with the family to address any concerns so that they can participate in future testing.
How to Complete Daily Health Screenings for Your Child
As always, the health and safety of our students, families, and school staff remain our top priority. We have spent months preparing for the safe reopening of our schools; we know they are like home for so many of us and provide the social-emotional support and learning our children need.
We all have a part to play in keeping our school communities safe. We are asking you to do your part by making sure your children have completed their health screenings (including temperature checks) before they enter school buildings. We encourage you to use our Online Health Screening Tool(Open external link) each day that your child is scheduled to attend in-person learning.
Daily COVID Case Map
On September 14, the Situation Room—a multi-agency partnership between the Department of Education, Department of Health and Mental Health, and the Test & Trace Corps—launched to facilitate a rapid response to positive COVID-19 cases in public schools. Since then, it has operated six days a week from 5:30AM-9:30PM Monday – Friday, and 11:00AM – 9:30PM on Sundays. Staff communicates with school principals, quickly confirming positive cases, taking swift action where necessary, and clearly communicating to the school community.
This week, the Situation Room is launching an online map updating families and the public on which buildings have active confirmed cases of COVID-19 and which require either temporary classroom or full-building closures. This map will be updated once daily with the latest information from the School Reopening Situation Room.
The online map can be accessed here.
In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school community, school leadership works closely with the Situation Room and the Test + Trace Corps to confirm the case, identify close contacts, and provide immediate next steps for the entire school community. Schools will communicate this information and next steps to all families and students when the case is laboratory confirmed.
COVID-19 School-Based Testing Programs
School staff and DOE students in grades 3k through 12 receive priority testing at 22 Health and Hospital (H+H) testing sites. Please see the COVID-19 School-Based Testing Programs page for a list of the 22 priority sites and additional details.
COVID Alert NY Contact Tracing App
New York on Thursday launched a new contact tracing app that alerts users when they’ve come into close contact with someone who tests positive for the coronavirus. The app is called “Covid Alert NY.” It’s free and available through Apple’s App Store and Google Play for both iPhones and Android phones.
State Health Department issues guidance on who is healthy enough to be in school
Today, the State Health Department today issued a nine-page document to help parents, school employees and school officials make decisions regarding who belongs in school when symptoms associated with COVID-19 arise.
The Pre-K to Gr 12 COVID-19 Toolkit includes many decision trees with green and red arrows. One page for employees is labeled: "I have COVID-19 symptoms. When can I go back to work at the school?"
The toolkit states that school officials should call 911 if a student or staff has:
Download the document here
The Fund for Public Schools
The Fund for Public Schools has consistently and rigorously dedicated itself to supporting New York City’s public schools since 1982. The Fund has secured unprecedented investment from foundations, businesses, and individuals, raising more than $532 million for the city’s 1,800 public schools and 1.1 million students.
Julie L. Shapiro, the Chief Executive Offer of the Fund was in her role for just 4 months when the COVID-19 pandemic started. Read about the Fund’s support of New York City’s schools in Julie’s blog here.
RESOURCES AND OPPORTUNITIES
PA/PTA Virtual Election Guidance
Please be reminded that PA/PTA Virtual Election Guidance has been issued. You may find this and other helpful documents in the PA/PTA Resource folder on the DOE website.
Also, don't fret if you missed this week's trainings! The next training will be held on Friday Oct. 9th at 5PM.
Please click this link to join the webinar. The passcode is: 285745
You may also join via telephone (dial either number listed below, based on your current location):
Webinar ID: 868 6762 4172
Take-Out Meals for Remote Learning
Remote Learning Students may pick up a free breakfast and lunch at select locations. The parents/guardians of those students may also pick up the take-out meals. Take-out meals for students and other NYC children will be available on school days from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM. No registration, ID, or documentation required.
Find a Take-Out Meal Location Near You
Please visit the community meals page for more information on meals for all New Yorkers.
The NYCDOE is hiring substitute teachers! We are looking for committed, compassionate, positive educators who are ready to make a difference for NYC students.
You will find information about the position and how to apply on the DOE’s website here.
If you have issues with technology for learning at home, visit our support pages: http://on.nyc.gov/3kImrrp. If you still have issues, we are here for you. Fill out the Technical Support for Families form: http://schools.nyc.gov/techsupport and we will get in touch.
We hope that these first few days of school went well for your children, colleagues and loved ones. Please enjoy the weekend!
--The FACE Team
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Past TAG newsletters, family engagement committee weekly digests, and miscellaneous meeting handouts: