REC Staff Frequently Asked Questions

Overview

What is a REC?

A REC is a safe, enriching place created by the New York City Department of Education to provide childcare for first responders who are critical to the COVID-19 response efforts. The approximately 100 RECs around the city each offer remote instruction; three hot meals a day; and childcare; along with art, music, and physical education. RECs include early childcare centers in addition to K–12 sites and will be available in every school district.

Volunteer Eligibility

Who is eligible to volunteer in a REC?

All active full- and part-time DOE employees are being asked to volunteer to support the RECs. Substitute teachers and substitute paras are being called separately to come in to provide support, but we also need other staff to help. Staff from Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), Paraprofessionals, school aides, teachers, education administrators, DOE pedagogical and administrative managers are specifically needed, along with other employees who are able to provide operations support at the sites which can include attendance, registration, payroll, timekeeping and general support. School Food service staff and School Safety staff will be assigned to these sites for feeding and security.

How can I find out where RECs are located? Is a map of site locations available?

Yes, there is a map of REC locations available here. Staff cannot request placement at a specific REC, but they can identify districts where they would be willing to report.

How long will shifts at RECs be?

Shifts are Monday through Friday, in either morning, afternoon, or full-day shifts. Volunteers may select as many or as few days of the week they are available but must be able to commit to full shift: 7:00am-1:30pm, 12:00pm-6:30pm, or 7:00am-6:30pm.

Is there a way for me to volunteer to support RECs remotely?

No, the volunteer need is for in-person support at the RECs. There is no opportunity to support the RECs remotely at this time.

Can I volunteer if I cannot start on March 23 or cannot work past a certain date?

At this time, we are looking for volunteers who are able to begin supporting RECs on March 23 and will be available to support RECs for as long as is necessary, which at this time is through at least April 20, per guidance from the Mayor.

Can non-DOE staff volunteer to support RECs?

DOE staff and CBO staff who are under contract with the DOE or DYCD may work at the RECs. All staff must have PETS certification and fingerprinting.

Can non-pedagogues volunteer at RECs?

Yes, there are other roles at the site that non-pedagogues can support.

Can DOE retirees volunteer to support RECs?

At this time, no. We are currently seeking to fill the centers with current DOE staff.

Can I still volunteer at a REC if I believe I may have been exposed to COVID-19? 

No one may volunteer who is experiencing any symptoms of illness, who lives with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or who has been directed by a health department or medical professional to quarantine. In general, all New Yorkers should monitor their health. Self-monitoring means you check yourself for fever and remain alert for COVID-19 symptoms — fever, cough, shortness of breath and sore throat. See the Department of Health’s latest guidance for more information about self-monitoring. 

I’m considered high-risk for the virus. Can I still volunteer?

No. People who are at most risk for severe illness are the elderly and those who have chronic health conditions. You should monitor your health closely and stay home. Only go out for essential supplies and services, such as groceries or urgent medical care.

You should contact your provider if you have fever, cough, shortness of breath or other cold or flu-like symptoms and do not feel better after three to four days. Reach out to your provider by phone or online rather than going to them in person. Your provider will decide if you need to go for medical care. See the Department of Health’s guidance for more information.

I submitted a request to volunteer at a REC. How will I learn of my assignment?

Most volunteers will receive an email with their assignments before Monday, March 23.

If I sign up to volunteer and I am unable to fulfill my role, how do I decline my volunteer assignment?

If you are unable to fill your volunteer role anymore for any reason, please fill out this this REC Surveyas soon as possible.

I am a substitute (teacher or paraprofessional) interested in working in an REC. How should I get involved?

There are positions for substitutes to work at the RECs that are available through SubCentral. Substitutes should not use the survey but look and respond to jobs through their regular SubCentral process. Substitutes will be paid at their regular rate for these days with credit for working. Please reach out to subcentral@schools.nyc.gov with questions.

If I volunteer in a REC, how will this impact my pre-existing caseload/remote teaching responsibilities/etc.?

Staff interested in undertaking this volunteer responsibility should be prepared to complete duties associated with their regular assignments in addition to any responsibilities required as a REC volunteer. Please reach out to your direct supervisor for specific questions on remote learning responsibilities and scheduling.

Will I receive additional compensation for volunteering at a REC?

We are asking for volunteers to assist in serving children of first responders in an effort to help the city in this time of need. Employees reporting to a REC site as their regular work time will not receive additional compensation. Employees who work at the REC beyond their regular work time will be compensated consistent with their title, if applicable, e.g., per session, overtime.

Will protective gear, such as N95 masks or gloves, be provided to me if I volunteer to support a REC?

Medical supplies will be available for use by nurses and for use in medical rooms as needed. Sites will have disinfectant supplies available and will be deep cleaned daily.

If I become sick while volunteering in a REC, will I be charged sick days if I need to stay home?

Payroll and Personnel Memoranda found on the Personnel Memoranda page address COVID-19 related absences and timekeeping. Standard sick leave policies apply for non-COVID-19-related illnesses.

If I develop COVID-19 symptoms while volunteering, will I be able to get priority access to testing since our exposure will be greater than if we were to self-isolate?

If you think you have COVID-19 and your illness is mild, you do not need to see your health care provider and you will not be tested. Getting tested will not change what your provider will tell you to do to get better. They will tell you to stay home so you do not get others sick.

You should contact your provider if you have fever, cough, shortness of breath or other cold or flu-like symptoms and do not feel better after three to four days. Reach out to your provider by phone or online rather than going to them in person. Your provider will decide if you need to go for medical care.

Unless you are hospitalized and a diagnosis will impact your care, you will not be tested. Limiting testing protects health care workers and saves essential medical supplies, such as masks and gloves, that are in short supply. See the Department of Health’s guidance for more information.

Student Enrollment

What is the process for admitting students to REC sites?

Families:

  • Families are completing an enrollment form for each child they are seeking to enroll.
  • Family submissions are automatically populated onto your roster spreadsheet.
  • Centrally, families’ submissions are reviewed to ensure that they are eligible based on tier, and then confirmed.
  • Site Administrators will be able to see students who are both confirmed and not confirmed, just in case families come to the site even if they have not yet been confirmed.

Schools:

1. Check if student is on roster:

  • You will need to use your StrongSchools account. Rosters are updated in a real-time basis as families are submitting enrollment form.
  • You will receive the link that you need from the Office of the First Deputy Chancellor.
    • Rosters are available by borough.
    • Each site has its own tab on the borough spreadsheet.
    • We recommend downloading and printing a roster in the morning.
  • Students are organized by parent/guardian by last name alphabetical order.
  • Once you open your tab, here are columns to look out for:
    • Column A: Confirmation Column
    • Columns B - F: Here is where you will take attendance for the first week (see below)
    • Column AZ: Health Conditions/Physical Limitations
      • Please note that many families have included whether their child has an IEP or other considerations, including Autism.
    • Column BA: Allergies
    • Column BC: Siblings
      • Note that each student in a family should have their own entry in the spreadsheet. If a family brings multiple children and thinks they have registered them, check this column – they might be there!
      • Accept the siblings, but please ask the family to complete the enrollment form for each child.
      • On the first day that a student arrives, do not mark them as attending until you receive their completed waiver form.
      • Place waiver forms in a secure location.

2. Universal Health Waiver Form: Ask for each student’s universal health waiver form. If they do not have it with them, please have them complete a copy for each child on site.

3. Record Attendance: For the first week, you will use the live spreadsheet to record attendance. Day 1 corresponds to Monday, March 23, Day 2 to Tuesday, March 24, and so on.

Regarding eligibility for student enrollment, will other essential workers be included for their children's acceptance?

We are taking a tiered approach that will start with first responders, healthcare, and transit workers. We are also evaluating demand and our capacity to serve other essential groups. As we move forward, we will seek to include additional essential service providers and children in shelters if possible.

I am a DOE staff member without childcare who would like to volunteer in a REC. Am I able to bring my child to a REC while I volunteer?

Once a volunteer has a confirmed site assignment, you will receive information on how to enroll your child at a REC site. Please note the following:

  • Completing the enrollment form does not guarantee a seat, as space is limited.
    • Volunteers will receive an email right after submitting the form outlining their responses on the form. This is only a receipt that shows the form was submitted; this is not confirmation of your child’s assignment.
  • Children of REC volunteers will be assigned to centers on a rolling basis.
    • Volunteers will then receive a confirmation email confirming their assignment.
  • Volunteers may bring their child to their assigned REC only after receiving an email confirmation, which will include a Regional Enrichment Center Family Guide.
  • If you have any questions about the enrollment process for Regional Enrichment Centers, please contact us at REC_Enrollment@schools.nyc.gov.

Will children attending RECs receive busing to Regional Enrichment Centers?

No.

The REC Experience

What will a typical day look like?

Hours of Operation: 7:30 a.m.– 6:00 p.m.

Tentative Program schedule:

  • Morning
    • Remote Learning Opportunities
  • Afternoon
    • Arts
    • Physical Education and Sports (3 p.m.– 6 p.m.)

What will students bring with them?

If they have one available, children may bring a device (e.g., laptop, tablet, or phone) that they can use for remote instruction.

How will you keep RECs safe?

The health and safety of students and staff members remains our highest priority. All social distancing protocols will be followed at RECs, including maintaining 6 feet of distance between people and limiting classrooms to fewer than 9 students. Anyone who is sick should stay home. Sites will be regularly cleaned and disinfected.

Staffing a REC

Per Governor Cuomo’s executive orders, are RECs to remain open or will these be closed as part of the mandatory shut down?

RECs are not subject to the Governor’s Executive Order, so they will not be closed. RECs will be open starting Monday, March 23.

Will RECs provide childcare on the weekends?

No, RECs are open for families Monday through Friday, from 7:30am-6:00pm. Staff will report starting at 7:00am and until 6:30pm.

What health/safety measures will be used at RECs to keep them safe?

The health and safety of students and staff members remains our highest priority. All social distancing protocols will be followed at RECs, including maintaining six feet of distance between people and limiting classrooms to fewer than nine students. In addition, when parents arrive with children, they will be asked about the health of any children being dropped off before entry. Anyone who is sick should stay home. Sites also will be regularly cleaned and disinfected.

See the REC Citywide Operation Guidance, especially the section on General Infection Prevention Strategies, for more details and best practices.

What do the responsibilities for teachers volunteering in RECs look like?

Responsibilities may include but are not limited to classroom management, supervising children, assisting with remote learning to the best of your ability, and possibly leading activities. Additional information on responsibilities and policies will be shared with selected volunteers.

Can teachers whose schools are host sites for RECs, work from their school building remotely?

No.

Back to Top