Dear Families, September 21, 2020
It is my pleasure to welcome you and your children to the 2020–21 school year! We could not have achieved this milestone without every one of you. I am grateful for your support and your faith in our public schools. So many New Yorkers have worked around the clock to accomplish this shared goal: the safe return of our students, teachers, and school staff to classroom and remote learning.
There is no doubt this has been a challenging seven months, but we should feel proud of the outstanding job New Yorkers have done to fight COVID-19. Our actions have led to weeks of very low infection rates citywide. However, the virus is still active in our city, state, and country. We know that there will be cases of COVID-19 this fall. The good news is we are prepared to fight this virus while holding true to our mission—ensuring that all our students continue to learn and thrive.
To carry this out, we have put in place strict health and safety protocols and created a COVID-19 Response Situation Room for DOE principals, which serves as a “one-stop shop” for school leaders in handling all COVID19 cases in schools. When principals learn of a potential COVID-19 case in their school, they call the Situation Room to report it, and medical, public health, and education staff are on hand and readily available to support principals through responding to it. Principals or their designees call the Situation Room, which helps to handle everything from there - including quickly communicating vital updates for principals to share with their school communities.
We are confident in our ability to provide your children with the healthy, safe, engaging, high-quality education you expect. We will continue to be transparent and keep you informed. In this Update for Families, I am happy to share the latest information on:
How to complete daily health screenings for your child
Where to get tested for COVID-19,
How to stay informed on COVID-19 cases in your school community, and
What transportation to and from school looks like
In addition, to help you find key information I have shared in past updates, we have included quick links to DOE resources on
Health and safety measures in our schools, What teaching and learning looks like this year, and School schedules for elementary, middle, and high schools
As always, all information regarding back to school can be found at schools.nyc.gov/returntoschool2020. If you have additional questions, please contact your principal. You can find information about your child’s school, including principal contact information, on our website using “Find a School” at schoolsearch.schools.nyc.
You have heard me say that September is my favorite month, and that is especially true this year. Return to School 2020 took a team effort, thousands of hours of work, and attention to countless details to get where we are today. I could not be prouder of our families, students, educators, and everyone who works in and for our schools.
As we start the new school year together, I can assure you that the largest school system in the nation is well prepared and up to the task. Please know that we are here for you. Your teachers and principals are here for you. And, together, we will achieve a remarkable year of learning.
Richard A. Carranza Chancellor New York City Department of Education