COVID 19 Updates
COVID-19 Health and Safety Policy Updates
Our “Stay Safe, Stay Open” plan has succeeded in allowing us to keep New York City public schools open and remain among the safest places for young people to be during the COVID-19 pandemic. As our schools did their part in reducing transmission rates, so have New Yorkers as a whole. We are pleased to announce that as a result, we will be implementing changes in our current COVID-19 health and safety policies in our schools in accordance with the latest guidance.
Mask Policy Updates
We are pleased to announce that, face coverings will be optional on school grounds for students in kindergarten through grade 12 beginning Monday, March 7.
To maintain the safety of our staff and students, we will continue to practice strict COVID-19 protocols, including increased ventilation, a daily health screening, and test kit distribution. Mask-wearing will become optional indoors, outside, and on school buses. Anyone who chooses to wear a mask may continue to do so, and your child may request a mask from their school if they need one.
The indoor mask mandate is still active for LYFE, EarlyLearn (Infants & Toddlers), 3-K, Pre-K, and 4410 classrooms. Children two years old and older and all staff and visitors in these classrooms, must continue to wear a face covering indoors. Since children under the age of five are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine, face coverings remain our strongest defense against COVID-19 for our youngest learners.
In addition, any staff member or student in grades Kindergarten or higher returning on Day 6 following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or after having COVID-19 symptoms without testing is still required to wear a well-fitting mask at all times on school property through Day 10.
Masks are strongly recommended for any staff member or student who knows they have been exposed to COVID-19 within the previous 10 days. Mask wearing is still required in medical rooms and nurses’ offices, as well as in School Based Health Centers. Nurses will have masks on hand for anyone entering who may need one.
There are no requirements for social distancing in public spaces, including classrooms, cafeterias and auditoriums.
Visitors are still required to show proof of vaccination and complete the daily health screening (healthscreening.schools.nyc(Open external link)) before entering a DOE building.
As a reminder, vaccination is the best tool we have to fight COVID-19 and to keep our schools safe for all our students. Children ages 5 and older are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. If your child is eligible but not yet vaccinated against COVID-19, you can make an appointment for vaccination at vaccinefinder.nyc.gov(Open external link) or call 311 to find a vaccine site near you. The vaccine is free for all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration or insurance status. We thank you for your continued partnership.
COVID 19 Testing
Increased In-School COVID-19 Testing
In anticipation of the Midwinter Break, we are increasing the number of students who will be included in the city’s in-school random surveillance testing program. Beginning on February 7, schools will test the larger of either:
- 10 percent of the school’s student enrollment in grades 1 through 12, up to a cap of 250 students
- 20 percent of the school’s unvaccinated student population
This change allows schools with highly vaccinated student populations to test a larger group of students every week. Additionally, 10 percent of staff continue to be able to get tested weekly.
We encourage all families to consent to in-school testing through their NYC Schools Account (schoolsaccount.nyc(Open external link)) or return a signed paper form to the school. More information about COVID-19 testing in schools and printable version of the consent form in multiple languages can be found at COVID-19 Testing for Students.
Testing is a critical part of keeping schools open and protecting the health of our students, staff, and neighbors. Thank you to those families who have already consented to testing for your support and partnership in keeping our school communities safe!
Home Test Kits
During the week of February 14, schools will distribute at-home rapid test kits to all staff and students ages two and up. You can watch videos in multiple languages on how to use your test kit at Home Rapid Test Kits.
We strongly encourage all staff and students to take an at-home rapid test before returning to school on February 28, regardless of their vaccination status. Staff and students are not required to show proof of a negative test result before being allowed to return to school.
If your child tests positive on a home test, your child must isolate for 5 days if they are in grades K–12, or for 10 days if they are in a LYFE, EarlyLearn (infant & toddler), 3K, or Pre-K classroom, following the positive result. Please contact your child’s school immediately and report the test results. K–12 Students who test positive for COVID-19 and are isolating at home will continue to be provided asynchronous remote instruction and access to office hours with their teacher.
If your child has recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days, they will not receive a test kit and may continue to attend school unless they develop COVID-like symptoms. You can find charts that outline the steps you should take if your child feels sick, was exposed to COVID-19, or tested positive for COVID-19, at Health and Safety in Our Schools.
We have put safety procedures in place to keep our students and staff healthy.
- Masks:We are pleased to announce that, face coverings will be optional on school grounds for students in kindergarten through grade 12 beginning Monday, March 7.
- Hand washing: Students and staff are expected to wash hands thoroughly before and after eating, after using the bathroom, if exposed to body fluids (like saliva or a sneeze), and at other times necessary throughout the day.
- Social Distancing: There are no requirements for social distancing in public spaces, including classrooms, cafeterias and auditoriums.
- Vaccination As a reminder, vaccination is the best tool we have to fight COVID-19 and to keep our schools safe for all our students. Children ages 5 and older are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. If your child is eligible but not yet vaccinated against COVID-19, you can make an appointment for vaccination at vaccinefinder.nyc.gov(Open external link) or call 311 to find a vaccine site near you. The vaccine is free for all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration or insurance status. We thank you for your continued partnership.
- Directions for local COVID testing: Please visit the NYS Coronavirus Find a Test Site page to find a test site closest to you.
We are committed to making sure that all students can successfully connect to online learning during their at-home learning days.
- If your student needs a laptop or tablet, fill out the Device Request Form to reserve your device. Borrowing a device is free!
- If your children experience internet-connectivity issues with their iPads, they can request help through the Technical Support for Families form.
- Borrowed devices should be used for school purposes only and kept in a secure location. Take your device with you on in-school days.
- If you are not able to get internet hooked up in your home, your child's teacher will work with you to provide alternative offline assignments.