Visit the InfoHub for printable translations of the these letters.
July 8, 2020: Return to School
I hope you are having a restful summer so far, and staying healthy and safe. I am writing today to share important information about the fall, when school will start up again for the 2020-2021 school year. Please bookmark schools.nyc.gov/returntoschool2020, where more information is available, and which will be regularly updated as we get closer to reopening.
Our commitment to health and safety drives everything that we do. It drove the transition to remote learning this past March, when we knew that closing school buildings was essential to flattening the curve of COVID-19 infection across New York City. It was profoundly challenging, but you and your children handled it with unbelievable grace and effort, and school communities came together to make it work in historic fashion.
Now, almost four months later, our commitment to health and safety will drive us into the new school year. We have been through so much together, and as we look ahead to September, we see the big picture: the continuing rise in cases across the country; current guidance from City, State, and Federal health authorities; and the knowledge that as the trajectory of the virus continues to evolve, the guidance we must follow will also evolve. When it does, we have to be ready, and prepared to adapt. We’ve also received over 400,000 responses from families and students to a survey asking about preferences and concerns for the upcoming year, and your input has been critical in our planning.
Taken together, this picture demands we begin the 2020-21 school year in an unprecedented way—including new health protocols, physical distancing, and more. Make no mistake: New York City students will still be learning 5 days a week. A major difference is that we are preparing to deliver their education through a blended learning model. Blended learning means students will be taught on-site in school for part of the week, and will attend school remotely on the other days of the week.
Any family can also choose all-remote learning, for any reason. But we know that the majority of families want as much in-person instruction as is safely possible, and we will work to maximize it at every turn, consistent with health and safety requirements. We will continue to lead with the lens of equity and excellence, giving your child what they need to excel—and recognizing the ways that will be different from each of their classmates, especially in a time of crisis. We will not look away from the ways this virus has further magnified the effects of systemic racism in our communities. We will continue to explore opportunities to directly correct structural inequities—like closing the digital divide.
Our plans must be nimble so we can adjust and update as needed, as the public health landscape continues to evolve. We are also awaiting guidance from the State of New York, and we will be closely coordinating with them once it is released. All of the most up-to-date information will be available at Return to School 2020. Please remember that this guidance may change as public health conditions evolve.
In closing, I want to say that I’m excited, and I’m anxious—just like you. I know that blending in-person and remote learning feels like an improvement over the all-remote experience of the last three months, but still comes with many questions and concerns. We will work with you every step of the way to answer questions around sibling scheduling, transportation, what happens if there’s a confirmed case in a school, and more. I’m committed to doing everything I can to make this easy for you—and I will not compromise on health and safety.
I always say that New York City has the best students, families, and staff in the world—and that nothing will ever change that. A safe return to schools in the fall, and the broader safety of our whole city, will require we consistently work together as partners—DOE staff, families, and students. Together we can ensure that the 1.1 million students—your children—in the NYC public school system get the education they deserve in the safest, most supportive environments possible.
June 26, 2020: Last Day of School Letter from Chancellor Carranza
For translated versions of this letter, visit the InfoHub End of Year Letters page.
Today is the last day of the most challenging, most intense school year many of us have ever experienced. I am humbled by your efforts and so proud of your children—our brilliant students.
I know that last September feels like it was years ago, and that time in general seems to exist as “before COVID” and “after COVID.” It might be hard to remember, but before the pandemic upended our lives, we opened more pre-K Dual Language programs across the city, saw a record number of our students enrolling in college, and learned just how much our Community Schools have been changing students’ lives for the better—to name just a few of our accomplishments. All that still matters because it has real-life, positive impacts for our children.
And then, all of a sudden, it was Monday, March 16, and the coronavirus forced us to reinvent the nation’s largest school system, closing all school buildings and transitioning our 1.1 million students to remote learning. To me, the “after COVID” time is as stunningly impressive as what came before. I know this because over the past three months I have seen your children complete science experiments in your kitchens, debate the United States Constitution in Spanish from your living rooms, and join band practice and master Shakespeare on Zoom.
Your children accomplished these amazing feats all while the coronavirus was affecting you, your families, and your communities. Sadly, we lost immediate family members, and 79 Department of Education employees, to COVID-19. We will never be the same without the loved ones, friends, and colleagues who gave our lives and work meaning. We will never, ever forget a single one of them. They live on in our hearts, in our memories, and in our children.
I’ve always said that parents and families are our most important partners, but this year that was truer than ever, as you became your child’s teacher, coach, and constant presence in an uncertain world. Your lives were upended in support of a totally unconventional schedule for your children. I know how much you sacrificed for them, how concerned you are about their futures, and how deep your love for them runs. I can’t thank you enough for the effort you have made to support your child’s learning at home.
In recent weeks, you’ve kept the learning going as our city and nation have been enraged and have mourned the senseless loss of more Black lives at the hands of those whose duty it is to serve and protect. It has been a gut-wrenching time for all of us. Systemic racism endangers people of color in this country, period; and true change for New Yorkers of color must begin in our schools.
I pledge that we will take what we have learned this year and double down on addressing systemic inequalities in our system that these crises have further exposed. This includes continuing to build a strong, inclusive, just, and anti-racist educational system. I pledge that we will keep cultivating and celebrating the achievements and accomplishments of your children. I pledge to continue to be there for you and your children, not being deterred for a moment—no matter what challenges come our way. Over the next several months, we will operate Summer School, Meal Hubs, Regional Enrichment Centers, and Emergency Child Care Centers to actively serve our families. I pledge to deliver the education your children demand and deserve—an education that enables them to grow into well-educated, responsible, compassionate adults who are equipped to change the world.
I know you are rightfully anxious to know what that education will look like for your child this fall. We are working day in and day out to develop robust plans for the more than one million children who are in our seats. You will receive information in the coming weeks—including the date for the first day of school—once we receive the necessary guidance from the State and federal government that paves the way for us to finalize our plan. We also need your guidance, too! Please tell us what you want fall 2020 to look like by filling out our Return to School survey at schools.nyc.gov/returntoschool2020 by Tuesday, June 30. This will help us meet your needs as we come back to school.
Given all we have been through together, we cannot end the school year without celebrating our students’ remarkable accomplishments. I invite you to join me; Mayor de Blasio; former NYC public school student and teacher, Lin-Manuel Miranda; and other celebrities, elected officials, and special guests on June 30 as we honor the Class of 2020 at a citywide graduation ceremony. You can watch it beginning at 7 p.m. on PIX 11 and at nycclassof2020.com. Please join us!
And one more exciting development for our students: we are thrilled to make more e-books and audiobooks for all ages available for free this summer to all DOE families, and it’s easier than ever to access them. Just use your student’s DOE login; no special signup necessary. Summer reading is so important to keep learning going and to let imaginations run free, so please visit schools.nyc.gov/summerreading to find these amazing resources. If you received a DOE-issued iPad, it will automatically have the Sora app installed to access these texts—but you don’t need a DOE-issued device to use Sora. You can download the app on any device, use your student’s DOE login, and start reading.
I have often said that we have the best students, staff, and families anywhere. This year, you have proved that true beyond any shadow of a doubt. You are helping us build a better world. We are grateful for you today and every day.
Have a wonderful summer. We can’t wait to see you in September.
June 15, 2020: Letter from the Chancellor for Voting and the 2020 Census
I hope you had a safe and restful weekend. I’d like to share information provided by our City colleagues about two important actions you can take immediately to have your voice heard about the future of our city: filling out the 2020 United States Census, and voting in the primary election on Tuesday, June 23. Here is what you need to know:
How to Vote in the June 23 Primary Election
This month, primary elections will take place across New York City. You can confirm which races are happening in your district with nyc.pollsitelocator.com. Here’s how you can vote:
Vote by Mail
- In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, all New Yorkers with primary elections are able to vote by mail. You must request your mail-in ballot by Tuesday, June 16, which can be done online at nycabsentee.com , by calling 1-866-VOTE-NYC, or by mail.
- For those who are away from home, you may request that your ballot be sent to your current residence. Once you receive your ballot, you must complete and postmark it by Tuesday, June 23. For more information, visit vote.nyc
Vote in Person
- In-person voting, including early voting, is still available. You may do so during the early voting period from now until Sunday, June 21, or on Election Day, June 23.
- If possible, we recommend voting early, when crowds are expected to be smaller and lines to be shorter. To find your early voting site, Election Day site, and poll site hours, visit nyc.pollsitelocator.com
- To register to vote in future elections, update your existing registration, find your assigned poll site, check your registration status, or get more information on voting, visit voting.nyc or call 311.
How to Fill Out the United States Census
The Census is a headcount of the U.S. population that happens once every ten years. It is extremely important to fill out because it determines critical educational resources available to New York City, as well as other vital government benefits and electoral representation.
This year, filling out the Census is easier than ever. You can complete it in five minutes, in fifteen languages, online at or over the phone by calling 844-330-2020.
The Census does not include a citizenship question. Even if you are undocumented, filling out the census will not put you or your family at risk. Census responses are private, protected by federal law, and will never be shared with NYCHA, ICE, HRA, Department of Buildings, or any other government agency—or your landlord.
You and your family need to be counted because Census results determine critical school funding, including special education grants, extra supplies, much-needed technology, and more teachers for our classrooms. It also helps to set funding for Early Learn Centers, In-School and Out-of-School Youth Programs, child care programs, and more.
The Census also serves enormously important non-education purposes. That includes funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, hospital care, affordable housing, and more. Plus, the Census affects each state’s allotment of representatives to Congress and Electoral College votes.
Now more than ever, we need to step up and help make sure all New Yorkers are counted! A complete count will bring our city the resources we need as we recover from the pandemic and its economic impact.
Civic participation is critical for a healthy democracy. I hope these resources are of use to you and your family.
June 12, 2020: Letter from the Chancellor About the Return to School 2020 Survey
Take the Return to School 2020 survey, read the letter from the Chancellor and get FAQs.
June 3, 2020: Letter From the Chancellor on Striving for Justice
Read the letter and get resources for talking to your children about race and current events
May 29, 2020: Update for June 4 and June 9: Chancellor Days
Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility in response to this ever-evolving crisis. We are writing today to share some important updates and reminders about the end of year school calendar.
We have two days coming up in June that were originally scheduled as times when students would not be in attendance. However, with the ongoing pandemic, students will be expected to participate in remote learning on both of these days:
- Thursday, June 4 was originally scheduled as a non-attendance day for all students in observance of Brooklyn / Queens Day (also known as Anniversary Day).
- Tuesday, June 9 was originally scheduled as a non-attendance day for students in schools serving grades K-8, as well as District 75 schools and programs.
On June 4, all students are expected to complete work independently as staff will be engaged in professional development. Teachers are not expected to engage students on June 4; instead, schools will set students up in advance with independent work for the day.
On June 9, students who attend a school serving grades K-8, or who attend any District 75 school, are expected to complete work independently as staff will be engaged in reorganization work. Teachers in these schools are not expected to engage students on June 9; instead, schools will set students up in advance with independent work for the day.
If you have questions or concerns regarding the school schedule for your student, please contact your school for additional information.
As a reminder, June 26 is the last day of school and a half day for all students. We will issue additional guidance to families about the end of the 2019-20 school year in the coming weeks.
Thank you again for your partnership as we continually navigate unfamiliar terrain. I often say that we have the best students, staff, and families in the world. You and your children continue to prove that, every day. Together, we will continue to weather this storm.
Please see the Summer School 2020 page for updates on this summer for families.
May 18, 2020: Update from Chancellor Carranza on MIS-C
Following up on our letter to you last week about the new health condition appearing in children in New York City and elsewhere, linked below is a Fact Sheet from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC Health) that provides additional information.
Per NYC Health, this condition has been renamed Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)—formerly Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS). The condition is rare and it is potentially life-threatening, so it is important that you know its signs and symptoms.
NYC Health’s Fact Sheet conveys new information about the syndrome, its symptoms, when to seek medical help, treatments, and preventative steps. Because MIS-C is associated with COVID-19, acting to keep your child from being exposed to COVID-19 continues to be essential.
As a reminder, families should help their children understand the importance of the following measures and ensure their children follow them:
- As per NYS Executive Order 202.17, all people over the age of two who can medically tolerate a face covering must wear one when they are outside their home if they cannot maintain physical distance from others. Free face coverings are available at DOE Meal Hubs in all five boroughs—you can find one close to you.
- Physical distancing and good hygiene remain critical, even while wearing a face covering.
- When outside the home, adults and children must maintain at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and others whenever possible.
- Parents should remind children of the importance of good hand hygiene and should help ensure that children frequently wash their hands.
The health and safety of our communities remains our top priority, and we will continue to take all appropriate measures to help keep our students, families, and staff members safe. Please visit nyc.gov/health at any time for the latest information on MIS-C, and do not hesitate to contact 311 with any questions.
May 11, 2020: Letter From Chancellor Carranza and Commission Barbot
Health and safety is our top priority, and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC Health Department) and the Department of Education (DOE) continue to work together to keep the city’s students, families, and staff members safe, healthy, and informed as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic evolves.
The NYC Department of Health is currently investigating cases of Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome, or PMIS, a new health condition appearing in children in New York City and elsewhere. The NYC Health Department is also investigating the possible association between PMIS and COVID-19 in children. Some doctors think the condition is related to having COVID-19, but the connection is still not clear.
PMIS is a rare condition that is not contagious. However, because it is life-threatening, it is important to know the signs. Most children have a persistent, high fever lasting several days, along with other symptoms, including:
- Irritability or sluggishness
- Abdominal pain without another explanation
- Conjunctivitis, or red or pink eyes
- Enlarged lymph node (“gland”) on one side of the neck
- Red, cracked lips or red tongue that looks like a strawberry
- Swollen hands and feet, which might also be red
You should call your doctor if your child becomes ill and has had continued fever. Your doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and use that information to recommend next steps. If your child is severely ill, you should go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 immediately.
Although it is not yet known whether it is associated with COVID-19, it is important parents and children take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Parents should help their children understand the importance of the following measures and ensure their children follow them:
- As per NYS Executive Order No. 202.17, all people over the age of two who can medically tolerate a face covering must wear one when they are outside their home if they cannot maintain physical distance from others.
- Physical distancing and good hygiene remain critical, even while wearing a face covering.
- When outside the home, adults and children must maintain at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and others whenever possible.
- Parents should remind children of the importance of good hand hygiene and should help ensure that children frequently wash their hands.
The health and safety of our communities remain our top priority, and we will continue to follow all guidance and take all appropriate measures to help keep our students, families, and staff members safe. Please contact 311 with any questions.
May 6, 2020: Updates on Use of Zoom from from Chancellor Carranza
As we enter a new month, we continue to work to equip all of you, our families and our school communities, with the information, tools, and resources that you need for remote learning as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic together as a City. This has been an ongoing process, as we all blaze new trails in uncharted territory of fully remote learning. Throughout it all, the health, safety, and security of our communities has been our focus and priority.
As you may recall, security and privacy concerns for our students and staff, including unwanted and unsafe meeting interruptions, led us to prohibit the use of Zoom in early April. The decision was a difficult one, but after reviewing the risks, we know it was in the best interest of our school communities. As we indicated when we made this announcement in April, we would continue to engage Zoom and other online collaboration platforms to make sure that students, teachers, and everyone in the DOE community had safe, secure means to interact with each other that respected student privacy.
We are pleased to announce that now, following several weeks of collaboration with the company, we are now able to offer Zoom as a safe, secure platform for use across the DOE. All schools and students will have free access to a central, secure DOE account for learning and collaboration. Our work with Zoom included reaching an agreement about data encryption and storage, creating settings for our platform to make sure only DOE participants and specifically invited guests can enter classrooms or meetings and giving meeting hosts more control over their classrooms and meetings.
This means that:
- All staff and students must use the new DOE central account to access Zoom
- All DOE students and staff will be able to sign onto nycdoe.zoom.us with their DOE email and password, and will be able to use the full complement of features Zoom offers
- The central DOE account has been pre-arranged to ensure safety and security of all participants, which protects all members of our communities
- There is no cost for schools, teachers or service providers (for use of Zoom, as well as previously approved platforms like Microsoft and Google)
- We will add Zoom to all DOE-issued iPads
Please visit the Getting Started with Zoom page to learn more about accessing Zoom, including:
- How to access DOE Zoom
- New security settings and instructions for use
- Contacts for technical support for families
Our new agreement with Zoom will give your children another way to connect with their schools, teachers and school staff. We are excited to be able to have another safe and secure option for school communities to use during this unprecedented time.
As always, we are grateful for your flexibility and patience. We know how hard every one of you works to support your children’s learning at home. And we are glad that you will now have access to another tool in Zoom that will help keep learning going.
April 28, 2020: Chancellor Carranza and Chief Academic Officer Linda Chen Announce the Grading Policy for Remote Learning
This unprecedented time of COVID-19 has presented difficulty and struggles for all New Yorkers, and we recognize that supporting your children in their continued learning in the midst of this crisis has been no small feat. We are amazed by the resilience and resolve that all of you—the families of our 1.1 million students—have shown as we transformed our entire system to remote learning. We are grateful for all that you are doing to support the success of your child as we finish the 2019-2020 school year in remote learning.
This transition would be a challenge at any time, but in the midst of the anxiety and trauma so many of our communities are experiencing due to the pandemic, it could have been insurmountable. Still, you have done it, being there for your children in every way you can to support their learning despite not necessarily knowing where the next meal will be coming from, or dealing with illness or loss in your family or community, or any other number of insecurities this time has brought.
That is why we have continually evolved our policies to meet this moment, developing and in some cases entirely reinventing them to support all of you—our students and families. These policies run the gamut from attendance to class scheduling to technology usage and beyond. Today, we are writing with another important policy update, concerning student grading
Grades are important for understanding a student’s progress toward meeting learning standards, but they are just one way our educators are measuring and discerning how a student is engaging with schoolwork and making progress. We must ensure that support for our students includes not just academics, but social-emotional learning, health and safety, and physical and mental wellness, and there are relationships in place that affirm and empower our students and families. We are giving our educators the tools and skills they need to understand and support our students socially and emotionally. We will continue to create resources for students and families that elevate these supports within the context of COVID-19. Implementation of the policy by school leaders will be considerate of students who have experienced emotional loss, death, mental health issues, or didn’t have access to a device or connectivity right away. We know that just as you are our partners in learning, we are yours in the emotional support your children may need during this time.
We have heard from students, parents, teachers, school leaders, and many others across the City to inform our revised grading policy. We see you, we hear you, and we believe that the final policy we are issuing emphasizes flexibility and patience for students in these unprecedented times, while also keeping students engaged without penalty for the trauma they may be experiencing. It maintains clear expectations that acknowledge each individual student’s experience, and creates a consistent, equitable system across all schools. The policy seeks to minimize stress on families and students, while still providing next year’s teachers with the information they need about an individual student’s progress toward achieving standards.
What You Need to Know
The grading policy outlined below is in effect for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year only. Teachers will base students’ final grades on a holistic review of their progress before and after we started remote learning. Attendance will not be a factor in students’ grades. No student will receive a failing final grade.
|Grade(s)||Grading Policy Summary|
|3K & Pre-K||No change because students do not receive report cards or grades.|
|K - 5th||Students receive final grades of either “Meets Standards” (MT) or “Needs Improvement” (N).|
|6th-8th||Students receive final grades of “Meets Standards” (MT), “Needs Improvement” (N), or “Course in Progress” (NX).|
|9th – 12th||Your school’s existing grading scale applies, but no failing grade will be issued. A “Course in Progress” (NX) will be issued instead. After final grades have been issued, students and families have the option to convert any or all passing Spring Semester 2020 final grades to pass (CR will be the symbol used in this case). Any CR grade will not be factored into a students’ GPA. |
The DOE is continuing to develop plans for programming and supports over the summer months. More information about summer school will be made available by your school and shared in the upcoming weeks.
If You Have Questions
For elementary and middle schools, principals will generally serve as primary points to answer questions regarding the grading policy for families.
For high schools, school counselors and college counselors will generally serve as primary points to answer questions regarding the grading policy for students and families, along with principals. If you need help identifying the school counselor or college counselor, please contact your principal.
Please also see our Frequently Asked Questions document for additional information. We are committed not only to supporting students in their continued learning through June and beyond, but to supporting you as our primary partner in your child’s education. We know you have had a lot of questions and faced a lot of challenges in this transition; you have had to take on essential, invaluable new roles to keep your child’s education going and become indispensable partners to teachers. There are many resources available on this website, and your student’s school is also standing by to support you.
We always say that New York City has the best students, staff, and families in the world, and nothing will ever change that. You continue to prove this true each and every day. Thank you.
April 15, 2020
Read the Message to Parents of Children with Disabilities from Chancellor Carranza.
April 11, 2020: Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza Announce Remote Learning for Remainder of 2019-2020 School Year
Less than one month ago, we came together and began transforming the largest school system in the nation. The battle against COVID-19 left us no choice but to close school buildings to students and staff, transition to remote teaching and learning from home, and adjust to distancing from each other to remain safe.
Now, we face another painful decision. After consulting with public health experts about the ongoing trajectory of the virus, and with educators about the potential for continued disruption for the remainder of the year, we have decided that New York City school buildings will not reopen during the 2019-2020 school year. Teachers and students will finish the school year in remote learning. We will continue to operate our 400+ school-based Meal Hubs, which serve three free meals a day to any New Yorker who needs them, and we will continue to ensure child care for the children of essential workers.
This is a painful but necessary decision for two reasons. First, public health experts have determined that community transmission of COVID-19 will be widespread well into the end of the school year. Even at low-level transmission, we’d have new cases, which would be extremely difficult to contain school-toschool. We believe there simply wouldn’t be enough time to bring our students back.
Second, we, as parents, know how important it is to have some sense of predictability in order to effectively plan for your family. This crisis is hitting all of us very hard. But we are hopeful that this sense of certainty will allow for more stability and the ability to better plan for our work and home lives.
We know this will have an immense impact on the 1.1 million students and 150,000 staff who make up our New York City public schools. But we are inspired by the extraordinary ways everyone in our school communities has risen to this challenge. Every day, we see how you – students, families, and the dedicated staff serving and supporting our public schools – are going above and beyond to connect in the face of this crisis, all in service of making sure learning continues. We also know that you’ll need support to continue this tremendous undertaking. That’s why we’re making the following commitments to you as we extend the closure of our school buildings until the end of the school year:
Every student who has requested an internet-enabled device will have one by the end of April. No student will go without the tools they need for learning. We have already delivered tens of thousands of devices to our most vulnerable students, including those in shelter and temporary housing. We are committed to closing the remainder of the digital divide for each of our kids. If you still need a device, please fill out the Remote Learning Device Request Form .
We will make sure that parents can ask and get answers to their questions about remote learning. We know you need someone to turn to who will answer any question you have about education during this time—from social-emotional support to academic progress to graduation requirements. Your school is always ready and willing to support you, and we will also make sure that additional support is available as we continue in our remote environment. This means increasing hours and staffing of our parent hotlines so you can get the answers you need. Call 311 to be directed to the right DOE support.
We’ll continue to invest in instructional resources, enrichment programs, and student supports for your families to engage in learning at home. Our students need and deserve rich, deep programming and remote learning opportunities as we go further into the school year, and we will continue to provide them. This includes learning resources provided by your teachers and schools, but it also includes enriching and fun materials from the world-class cultural institutions, libraries, museums, parks, and more right here in New York City.
We will ensure every high school senior is supported towards graduation. We’ll provide 1:1 counseling support to every senior, working closely with schools and families to understand if students are on track—and if not, provide opportunities to help them get there. Guidance counselors from every high school will reach out to every senior to make sure they are on a path to graduate.
We will reopen schools stronger than ever in September, ensuring the safety of our buildings and the resources in place to combat any learning loss and provide emotional support to our students, families, and educators as needed to resume learning and reconnect our communities.
Nothing about this is easy. For the last six years of this administration, public schools have been the anchor of our fight against inequality. They are how we’ve delivered increased opportunity, and we can’t overstate the loss of the concrete sense of community our schools provide. But this is about saving lives.
We are so grateful for your flexibility and patience; we know how hard every one of you has worked to support your children’s learning at home. And we will continue to make every effort to both support you and keep learning going during this unprecedented time.
March 22, 2020: Chancellor Carranza Announces Remote Learning
Tomorrow, we will all come together to take the first steps of a huge new educational journey as New York City brings remote learning to our 1.1 million students.
While none of us could have predicted even a few weeks ago that we would launch this dramatic new transition in education, I could not be prouder of the way our educators have come together to ready themselves to teach your children from their own homes. And I could not be more grateful to all of you for your faith in our educators, and all of the hardworking staff at DOE.
This will not be perfect. Nothing can ever replace a talented teacher in a classroom. We know the challenges and inequities our students face. But over the past week I have seen DOE’s 150,000 staff rise to this challenge in astounding ways. Your faith is them is deserved and earned.
Things have moved very quickly since Mayor de Blasio and I made the very difficult decision one week ago that school buildings would close for student instruction until at least April 20. Educators citywide created a remote curriculum in days. Every school has been equipped with an online platform. Learning resources, including those for special education and multilingual learners, have been developed and posted on our website—and there is so much more to come.
All the relevant information you need about engaging in remote learning is on our website at schools.nyc.gov—please visit it frequently for updates. And please check in with your teachers and principals if you have questions: just as they were before last week, they will continue to be your guide to instruction and (virtual) engagement during these unprecedented times. I will share a few key pieces of information here to keep in mind for this week:
Each school has its own online platform, with many schools using Google Classroom. Educators have contacted school communities to let you know what remote learning tool your child’s school will be using.
- You can find instructions on DOE student accounts and getting started in Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams at schools.nyc.gov/learnathome.
- If you are having additional problems connecting, contact your school directly via email. Our Find a School tool can help you find contact info for your school as well, if you do not already have it: schools.nyc.gov/find-a-school.
If your child needs a device to participate in remote learning, and you have not yet filled out a device request form, please visit coronavirus.schools.nyc/RemoteLearningDevices. We will help you get a device with internet connection.
- Many of you have already received a device on loan from your school. If you have not and you still require a device, please fill out the survey and DOE will reach out to you.
Students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
If your student is recommended for integrated co-teaching, special class, or special education teacher support services, your school will make every effort to arrange for them continue to receive instruction from the same special education teachers and classroom paraprofessionals that usually teach them. Someone from your school will contact you to discuss how instruction will be delivered.
- Your child’s IEP meetings will still take place; IEP meetings will be conducted by phone. To make a referral for initial evaluation or reevaluation, you can email your principal or email@example.com, or call 311.
We will continue offer free meals in the weeks ahead at more than 400 sites across the city. Food hubs will operate Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. through 1:30 p.m., and any student of any age can get 3 meals daily. Visit schools.nyc.gov/freemeals to find a site near you.
Regional Enrichment Centers
On Monday, March 23, the City will open Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs) for the children of front-line workers in the fight against COVID-19—including first responders and healthcare workers. If you believe your child may be eligible to attend a REC, please visit schools.nyc.gov/recs.
Enrollment and Placement Support
Family Welcome Center staff are available by email, and are prepared to assist with enrollment and placement of new admissions, questions around admissions, information about offers, and waitlists. They do not handle REC enrollment.
- Please be aware FWCs are processing a high volume of questions at this time in connection to the recent release of high school admissions offer letters. We ask for your patience, and are aiming to respond to all requests within 48 hours. Here’s how to receive direct support on these topics:
- Parents can also call 311 and say “Schools” to be routed to someone who can help with school-related questions.
If you need help with a problem that cannot be resolved at the school level or wish to report a complaint, please reach out to your district superintendent’s office. Contact information for your district support team can be found here: schools.nyc.gov/about-us/leadership/district-leadership. If you do not know the district in which your child’s school is located, please use the Find A School tool: schools.nyc.gov/find-a-school.
There will surely be bumps in the road as we all adjust to this new reality, and I want to thank you for the patience that will be demanded of you as we undertake this transformation together.
In just a few hours, we will all take a great leap together into uncharted territory. We will be successful if we continue to work together as a community of families, educators, and staff. We all share two key goals: a high-quality education for every single one of our 1.1 million students, and protecting health and safety of everyone in our school communities.
That means that public education in New York City is going to look tremendously different for the foreseeable future. But together, we will chart this path forward, and I have no doubt that we will eventually look back and say this was our finest hour: when we confronted this great challenge and overcame it, in unity, with shared strength and commitment.
New York City has the greatest students and staff in the world, and nothing will ever change that—today, tomorrow, or ever. I am excited to be on this journey with you. Together, I am confident we will learn and grow with boundless potential.