Important District Wide Letters

NYC DOE logo

 

Dear Families, All of us are living through an unprecedented time as we work to keep our communities safe and healthy in the face of the coronavirus. New Yorkers are joining millions in cities, states, and nations across the world in confronting decisions that we’ve never had to face—and maybe never could have imagined having to.

 

Here in New York, Mayor de Blasio and I have been clear that any changes to our school system as we know it would be an extreme measure—a last resort. We’ve been monitoring the outbreak in New York City day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. This weekend, it became clear that continuing public education in our school buildings was no longer sustainable for the time being.

 

On Sunday, we announced that for the next three and a half weeks, we are moving to a remote learning model, with a projected reopening of school buildings the week of April 20, 2020. I know this may feel abrupt, and has the potential to cause disruption in your lives. We are committed to consistent and clear communication with you throughout this time period, and a clear understanding of what will happen.

 

Our announcement today means that Monday, March 16, school buildings are closed and students will be out of session. However, students and families can pick up medication or receive any standard medical services from Tuesday through Thursday, during regular school hours; school nurses and school based health center staff will be on site. During that time, teachers will also be expected to report to their buildings and receive full-day professional development on remote learning.

 

Later in the week, students will begin picking up materials, including technology to participate in remote learning when needed. Additional guidance on all of this will be shared with you in the next couple of days. All throughout this week, grab-and-go breakfast will be available at the entrance of every school building from 7:30 AM – 1:30 PM. Any student can pick up breakfast and lunch at any school building.

 

On Monday, March 23, we will be opening several dozen Regional Enrichment Centers across the City, to serve the children of our City’s first responders, healthcare workers, transit workers, and our most vulnerable populations.

 

That Monday, we will also launch remote learning for grades K-12. I have every confidence in New York City educators and know they will rise to the occasion, and dedicate the same passion for delivering high-quality instruction remotely as they do in the classroom. We know we have the most dedicated school staff: teachers, custodians, administrators, and especially the school food workers who will be continuing to work during this time as part of a citywide meals program. More information on the launch of that program will be coming soon.

 

I want to be clear that this is not a closure, but a transition. We will not lower our expectations for our students. We know they are hungry to learn and we will match their curiosity and passion with work-from home materials, including distribution of devices that will support our remote-learning instructional model.

 

There are already instructional resources available for every grade level in every subject at schools.nyc.gov/learnathome.

 

We know this is a difficult time, and we are working hard to make sure our City continues to support families in every way we can. I want to assure families we’re working to make this as seamless a transition as possible.

 

Now is the time to come together to do what’s best for the health and safety of all New Yorkers. We are with you, partners in education in the greatest city in the world. We have the world’s most talented students, educators, and staff—and nothing will ever change that. We will continue to communicate with you in the coming days, and encourage you to visit our website at https://www.schools.nyc.gov/school-life/health-and-wellness/coronavirus-update for more information and updates on this transition.

 

Sincerely,

 

Richard A. Carranza

Chancellor

New York City Department of Education

 

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NYC DOE logo

 

February 2020

 

Dear DOE Colleagues,

 

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discussed possible options for what could happen if there is local person-to-person transmission of the novel coronavirus in the United States, including recommendations for school systems to consider.

 

At this time, it is important to listen to facts and not respond to fear. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in New York City and the risk to New Yorkers remains low.

 

However, transmission of the virus in other countries has raised our level of concern, and we are preparing for the possibility of person-to-person transmission in New York City. The measures that are put in place should local person-to-person transmissions begin will depend on the number of individuals affected and the general severity of illness we experience in our city. Our public health experts are vigilantly preparing for a spectrum of possible scenarios, and we are in close contact with them regarding how that may impact our school communities.  There are no plans to close schools or DOE offices at this time.  

 

We should all continue to practice general flu prevention measures including:

 

·         Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or sleeve

·         Wash your hands regularly

·         Avoid touching your face

·         Avoid close contact with people who are sick

·         Get your flu shot – its never too late

·         Stay home if youre feeling sick.  Call your doctor and let them know your symptoms, travel history, and if you’ve had contact with people who are sick.

 

These Coronavirus FAQs contain helpful facts regarding common questions about the coronavirus. Please take a look at the FAQs in order to stay informed, as well as to help guard against stigma and fear associated with the virus.

 

For more information and regular updates, visit the Health Department’s website. We will continue to provide updates as they become available. For specific questions/concerns, contact stayinghealthy@schools.nyc.gov. 

 

Office of the Chief Operating Officer

 

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NYC
 
February 2020
 
Dear Families: Recently, a novel (new) coronavirus was detected in thousands of people worldwide, primarily in China. A "novel coronavirus" is a strain that has not been previously found in humans. This novel coronavirus can lead to fever, cough and shortness of breath.
 
The City is monitoring the outbreak closely and working with our partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At this time, the NYC Department of Education (DOE) is not authorizing school-sponsored travel to China. Local field trips will go on as planned.
 
Please be reassured that there is no need for alarm or to change daily routines in any way. The City is closely monitoring the situation, and all New Yorkers are advised to follow the same precautions they normally would in cold and flu season. Please see the recommendations below:
 
Students and staff with NO recent travel from China: Everyone should go about their daily lives and not panic, but practice the same precautions you do during cold and flu season:
If not already vaccinated get your flu shot.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when sneezing or coughing.Wash your hands with soap and water often — use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
.Stay home if you have a fever or are feeling sick.Some students may come to school wearing face masks. The CDC does not recommend the use of face masks among healthy individuals. However, they are permitted.
 
If the face mask becomes a distraction in the classroom or school community, school staff may ask students to remove them.Students and school staff with recent travel from China:
 
The federal government has issued a requirement for up to 14 days of either mandatory quarantine or home isolation (depending on travel areas in China) for individuals who left China after 5pm EST February 2, 2020. This means that those individuals should NOT report to work or school for up to 14 days from the date that they departed China.
 
Students and staff who left China before 5pm EST February 2, 2020, and who have no symptoms of illness, may return to school immediately.
 
Anyone who has left China in the last two weeks and has a fever or a cough or shortness of breath should call their medical provider and report their symptoms and travel history.They should not come to school until they have been evaluated by a doctor and told they are no longer sick.
 
With the best public health system in the world, New York City stands ready to respond to any confirmed cases of the coronavirus. We urge all New Yorkers to remain vigilant, and if you or anyone you know matches the criteria and have recently traveled to the affected areas of China, please see a medical professional.
 
To learn more, visit nyc.gov/health/coronavirus.
 
Sincerely,
Oxiris Barbot, MD
Commissioner
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygien
 
 
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NYC
 
January 2020
 
Dear Families:
 
Recently, a novel (new) coronavirus was detected in thousands of people worldwide, primarily in China. A "novel coronavirus" is a strain that has not been previously found in humans. This novel coronavirus can lead to fever, cough and shortness of breath.
 
There are currently zero diagnoses in New York City, and the risk to New Yorkers is low. The City is monitoring the outbreak closely and working with our partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
 
Right now, everyone should go about their daily lives, but practice the same precautions you do during cold and flu season: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when sneezing or coughing, wash your hands with soap and water often, and stay home if you are feeling sick.
 
If you were recently in Wuhan, China and have a fever and either cough or shortness of breath, call your health care provider.
 
At this time there is no need to cancel field trips. To learn more, visit the Health Department’s website at nyc.gov/healthand search: coronavirus.
 
Sincerely,
Demetre C. Daskalakis, MD, MPH
Roger Platt, MD
 
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NYC DOE logo
 
November 2019
 
Dear Families,
 
At the Department of Education, our top priority is keeping students safe and healthy so they can engage in learning, every day in every school. Today we write with an important update in relation to the Department of Education’s aggressive lead remediation work in school facilities across the city.

Custodians are an integral part of our school communities, and are in our schools every day. They have always conducted visual inspections to monitor for peeling paint, and this summer another round of inspections was conducted in order to formally log the findings. By the first day of school this year, we successfully inspected and addressed any peeling paint found in classrooms serving kids under six and this fall, any necessary remediation of peeling paint was completed.
 
We also began our work in cafeterias and libraries earlier this fall, and these spaces were stabilized as necessary. Stabilization is an EPA- and NYC Department of Health-approved process by which deteriorating paint is removed, sealed, and repainted. This keeps these spaces safe for young children, as the impacted area of the wall is covered and inaccessible. Remediation is successful when dust wipe samples confirm the longer term safety of the room.
 
Our focus has always been on classrooms where students spend the most time, but we’re committed to enhancing our protocols and have expanded our work to common spaces. Beginning next month, we’re expanding inspections to include bathrooms, gymnasiums and auditoriums.
 
Although lead-based paint was banned in New York City in 1960, we take additional precautions and include in our monitoring any building constructed 25 years after that ban. Children under three years old are the most susceptible and vulnerable to the health effects of lead, and children under age six are at higher risk than older children.
 
Our response protocol keeps kids safe, and over the course of the year the DOE has increased oversight and transparency of this work. A centralized database is available online, and staff or parents can report any deteriorate paint via an online tool accessible 24/7 at schools.nyc.gov/leadbased-paint. Please do not hesitate to reach out to PaintTesting@schools.nyc.gov with any questions about our ongoing efforts with respect to lead remediation.
 
Sincerely,
Office of the Chief Operating Officer