Message from the Director of Community Affairs, NYC Department of Education: Spring Break, Mental Health, Meal Hubs, Electronic Devices, Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs), Special Education, Social-Emotional Wellness, Students Free Online Tutoring and Attendance.
Sun, Apr 5 11:18pm

Dear P.S.20 community, as we are heading to week#3 of remote learning, these are the latest updates from the Director Of Community Affairs: Sadye L. Campoamor

Spring Break 

In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order, we will continue remote learning throughout the time originally scheduled for Spring Recess, Thursday, April 9 through Friday, April 17.  We know that many New Yorkers plan to observe religious holidays on April 9 and 10. Any students and school staff who individually wish to celebrate those holidays may do so. However, these days will not be considered “days off” for the school system, and remote learning activities will continue for students who are not observing the holidays.   

We will offer schools remote learning resources that focus on daily themes and enrichment activities for all students for April 9-17.  Resources will include “theme” days (e.g., focus on wellness, world languages, computer science, arts, college readiness, etc.) as well as taking advantage of the unparalleled virtual educational and cultural resources right here in the city (museums, libraries, etc.).  We are soliciting Spring Remote Learning ideas from parents, so if you have any recommendations around fun activities, please email by Monday, April 6th, 2020. 

Mental Health


    • Text "WELL" to 65173, call 1-888-NYC-WELL (692-9355).
    • NYC-Well is a confidential mental health information and referral line with access to mobile crisis teams. Staffed by trained social workers 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.
    • Interpretation services are offered for 200+ languages.
    • NYC Well services are provided through ThriveNYC, which is a comprehensive public health approach to mental health in NYC. The program works to shift the culture, remove stigma around mental health, and make help-seeking normal.


Meal Hubs


    • Starting today, April 3 we will be serving 3 free meals to all New Yorkers at more than 400 Meal Hubs.
    • Open Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 1:30pm across all of NYC.
    • No registration, ID or documentation required.
    • All 3 meals can be picked up at the same time, and caregivers can pick up meals on behalf of their children. 
    • To learn the meal hub location nearest to them, families can visit our website, or by texting NYC FOOD or NYC COMIDA to 877-877.   


Electronic Devices 

We are distributing 300,000 internet-ready Apple iPads to students in need of electronic devices to access remote learning.  We received the first shipment of 25,000 iPads this week, and we have been distributing them to students living in temporary housing, emergency shelters, youth shelters and foster care.  Families can sign up to request an iPad here, and the delivery plan is outlined below.  Basic set-up information for those iPads can be found here.


    • The week of March 23: the first shipment of iPads will make their way to students across New York City, prioritizing students living in shelters. iPads are being delivered in bulk to shelters, and a shelter employee will distribute them to individual students.
    • The week of March 30: we will continue to prepare, pack and deliver the iPads that arrive from Apple to students in temporary housing, emergency shelters, youth shelters, and foster care, as well as high school students (see below).
    • The week of April 6: we will focus on delivery to high school students, focusing on multilingual learner students, students with disabilities, and students who live in public housing. iPads will be distributed on a rolling basis with new shipments arriving and being staged each week. 
    • Students who have requested an iPad, but are not in the above groups, will be eligible to receive iPads after deliveries have been made to the above groups.


Activity Packets (Hard Copy)


    • We will be mailing activity packets to families with children in grades Pre-K-5 who submitted the online request for an iPad starting next week.
    • These packets include 10-days' worth of lessons in different subjects.  These families should expect to receive the packets via mail in April.
    • Parents can access material for all grades, for students who need Specialized Instruction, and for multilingual learning students on the Activities for Students section of our website.


Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs)


    • We launched Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs) March 16 prioritizing enrollment for children of our first responders, transit, healthcare workers.
    • We have now expanded enrollment to the following categories of employees: DOHMH, DEP, NYCHA, Parks, Probation, Grocery stores, Pharmacies. 
    • We are consolidating a number of REC sites next week, and have already informed impacted families and presented them with the nearest alternative site. 
    • At this time, we are not publicizing the location of the REC sites, as there is no on-site enrollment and we don't want to encourage families to "drop in" without pre-registering (we are practicing social distancing and need to closely monitor capacity). 
    • That said, we encourage families to apply to enroll their child in a REC by filing out this online form and answers to general questions about RECs can be found here.  
    • We know that many of our families are facing incredible challenges this week and are here to support in any way we can.  If you have questions or concerns, please email me and our team will follow-up. 


Special Education


    • Schools contacted families last week to begin making arrangements for special education programs and related services. 
    • Families of students with IEPs were presented with a Special Education Remote Learning Plan, developed by the student’s special education teacher and other school-based staff with knowledge of the student. 
    • IEP meetings will be conducted over the phone, and parents can make a referral by emailing the principal or, or by calling 311.
    • Assessments may be conducted remotely. 
    • Related services will be provided via teletherapy, or video-conferencing where clinically appropriate. Providers and schools will contact families to discuss the service plan for each student. Providers will also give families information about activities that can be done at home to reinforce the related services work.
    • Schools will work with families to ensure that devices are provided to families of students recommended for Assistive Technology, and will contact families to make those arrangements.


Social-Emotional Wellness 

Last year, DOE announced our partnership with National University System’s Sanford Harmony program to provide all elementary schools with access to a social-emotional curriculum.  During remote learning, Sanford Harmony is offering families access to Harmony at Home, an online toolkit that provides a variety of lessons, activities, and resources to help caregivers navigate the social and emotional needs of children during this difficult time.  

Free Online Tutoring for Students 

Through the New York Public Library, students can receive one-on-one free online homework help from one-on-one tutors, daily from 2–11 PM.  Tutors are available in English and Spanish, from early elementary through high school grades, in core subject areas. Video content and other resources are also available 24 hours a day.  Families will need a New York Library card to access this service, and can apply for a card here


Schools have a system for monitoring student attendance. If your student’s school includes attendance in grade calculations, they will not include absences due to COVID-19 in their grade calculations. Moving forward, schools will not include attendance in any grade calculations for the rest of the year.  Schools must base students’ grades primarily on their academic performance. Students cannot fail their courses because of absence.


In gratitude,




Sadye L. Campoamor
Director of Community Affairs
NYC Department of Education