A Message to Families about the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate: February 8, 2023
Per the Mayor’s announcement on Monday, the New York City Board of Health is expected to make changes to the City’s current vaccination requirements this week. Specifically, as of February 10, 2023, NYC Department of Education (DOE) staff and other individuals in DOE schools and buildings – including visitors and family members – would no longer be required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. This means that COVID-19 vaccination would be optional for DOE staff and others who work in DOE buildings, as well as for volunteers at school-led functions such as field trips and others participating in activities in school buildings.
Schools will continue to provide masks and have COVID-19 tests available for distribution for students and staff. These tests can be used by students, staff, and family members for testing due to symptoms, in case of known exposure, or for testing after participation in high-risk activity (such as travel and large gatherings).
As a reminder, staying up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations is still the best tool we have to fight COVID-19 and to keep our schools safe for all our students. Children aged 6 months and older are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Updated bivalent COVID-19 vaccine boosters are now available for people aged 6 months and older. We encourage all those eligible to receive these boosters. If your child is eligible but not yet vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19, please take the opportunity to make an appointment at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html for more information on COVID-19 vaccination schedules. To stay up to date with our current covid information please visit here: schools.nyc.gov/school-life/health-and-wellness/covid-information
To protect against COVID-19 and other viruses, and in alignment with the recent health department advisory, we strongly recommend that everyone wear a mask at all times when in a crowded, public indoor space, including at school; practice frequent handwashing; and cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
Additional information about this change is included below.
Thank you for your continued partnership.
Will parent-teacher conferences be in-person?
Parent-teacher conferences will continue to be conducted remotely, though Parents and caregivers may always request in-person conferences at a mutually agreeable date and time.
Does this mean non-vaccinated parents can enter schools again? Attend PSAL games?
Yes, this means non-vaccinated parents and community members can enter schools and attend Public School Athletic League (PSAL) games and other activities that take place in school buildings.
How does this affect PSAL and other sports activities at schools?
As announced in September 2022, students are no longer required to be fully vaccinated to participate in high-risk sports or extracurricular activities.
A Message to Families about Education Council Elections from Chancellor David C. Banks: Week of January 9, 2023
One of our core pillars is to engage you as our true partners. You are the experts on your children and their education, and your involvement can help them thrive inside and outside of school. That is why I am encouraging you to take a leadership role in our public schools by applying to run for a seat on one of the City’s 36 Community or Citywide Education Councils (CCEC).
The Councils are made up of elected and appointed parent volunteers just like you. If you win a seat, you will play a vital role in shaping important decisions in your school district. For example, you could approve zoning lines or review improvements to your child’s school building, as happened recently in the northwestern portion of District 15.
To raise enrollment and promote more diversity, Community Education Council (CEC) 15 members worked with New York City Public Schools, education researchers, and community leaders to develop an elementary school rezoning plan. The CEC also successfully advocated for a much-needed middle school option in the Red Hook, Brooklyn neighborhood. These are the kind of policy changes that make a real difference in the lives of our children.
To bring even more diversity to our Education Councils, I’m excited to share that for the first time ever, families with a child in a District 75 school or program can vote for a District 75 representative to sit on each local Council. This is a big win for our families, and I encourage eligible parents to run for a designated District 75 seat.
Our Family and Community Engagement team is providing a host of resources to walk you through the election and voting process. These include information sessions via Zoom in different languages and more details on the structure and roles of the Education Councils, eligibility guidelines, key dates, and Frequently Asked Questions. You can access all of this and submit your application at schools.nyc.gov/elections2023 through February 13.
As parents, I believe we all share a loving mission: to help young people flourish and succeed. When you run for a seat on an Education Council, you commit to being a voice for change in your child’s education. When you lend your voice to the important issues affecting our schools by voting and sharing your opinions with your CCEC representatives, you show your communities that you are part of the solution. Please consider running for a Council seat and help put all our students on a path to the bright futures they deserve.
Chancellor's End of Year Letter for Families: Week of December 19, 2022
American Sign Language (video)
Thank you for choosing New York City Public Schools and for trusting us to do right by your children. As I complete my first full year as Chancellor, I am filled with so much gratitude, admiration, and respect for you. Thank you for your unwavering partnership and the sacrifices you make to support your child’s education.
Before we close out the year, I want to acknowledge some of the great things we have accomplished together, from enhancing our literacy programs and simplifying our admissions processes to reimagining special education and creating new pathways to launch all our students into the bright futures they deserve.
Every day I’ve been in our schools this year has reinforced the brilliant promise of our children. I see it in the light in their eyes, the warmth of their smiles, and the strength of their spirit; it always energizes and inspires me. I will take their promise and their energy with me into the new year, as we keep a sharp focus on our mission: to ensure each student graduates on a pathway to a rewarding career and long-term economic security—and is equipped to be a positive force for change.
I know that the holidays mean different things to different people, but I believe that no matter what or how we observe, the holidays bring out the best in us. Now is the time that we pause to reconnect with the people we love. To appreciate all that is good in our lives and, of course, to reflect, relax, and celebrate. For me, the holidays are also about looking forward to the second half of the school year. Part of my job is to ensure that my team and I return in January full of energy and enthusiasm, ready to create even more pathways for our children to achieve their dreams.
I wish you a joyful holiday season and a healthy, prosperous new year, and I very much look forward to seeing you and your children in the new year.
Update for Families on Weather Closures and Remote Learning: Week of December 12, 2022
American Sign Language (video)
As we head into winter, we may have snowstorms or other weather conditions that require school buildings to close for the day. This year, if New York City public school buildings are closed due to inclement weather, remote learning will be conducted on that day. Students in kindergarten and above will be expected to log on and participate in their classes from home. Children attending LYFE or a 3K or Pre-K program in an elementary school or Pre-K Center should participate in the remote learning experiences outlined by their program.
Our ability to teach and learn remotely across the system allows us to continue working with our students even when school buildings are closed. As in previous years, you will be notified when NYC Department of Education (DOE) school buildings are closed due to bad weather, and your school will provide you additional information. Please do not hesitate to contact your principal if you have any questions.
To help families prepare, this letter explains how to access remote learning tools and platforms and how to ensure you receive the latest information regarding school building closures and other important news from NYC Public Schools.
Additionally, we are sharing updated recommendations on masking in schools and other indoor settings, given the high rates of flu and other respiratory viruses, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), this season.
To participate in remote learning, students will need access to a computer, laptop, or iPad that can connect to the internet. If your child does not have an internet-ready device at home, you can request a DOE-loaned device from your school. If your child needs a DOE device, please ask your school now, to ensure your family is prepared; do not wait for a weather closure. You can find guidance on how to get started using your DOE-loaned iPad or laptop at Your DOE-loaned iPad or Laptop.
DOE Student Accounts
Students can access all the DOE technology platforms they will need for remote learning through their DOE account, which is created automatically when your child enrolls in school. You can access your child’s DOE account by signing in to TeachHub (teachhub.schools.nyc) using the username and password that your school provided. (If you are not sure of your child’s username and password, please visit selfservice.schools.nyc or ask your school for help.) From there, students and families can connect to all DOE applications with one click. Platforms include, but are not limited to:
- Google for Education (including Google Classroom)
- Microsoft Office
Learn more about DOE Student Accounts on the DOE accounts page on our site.
Having trouble with a DOE device or online learning platform? We can help! You can find answers to many common questions or open a support ticket at SupportHub: supporthub.schools.nyc.
New York City Schools Account
One of the easiest ways to learn about school building closures is through your New York City Schools account, or NYCSA: schoolsaccount.nyc. If you do not yet have a NYCSA account and want to learn more, visit New York City Schools Account (NYCSA). We strongly urge all families to set up a NYCSA account to stay connected with your school, keep track of your child’s grades, and receive other important news and information such as alerts regarding building closures.
NYC Public Schools Online
Keep up with what’s happening in NYC public schools! Check out our website and follow @NYCschools on social media for all the latest news—including urgent information about school building closures—from the NYC Department of Education. Find us:
Update on Mask Guidance for Students and Families
The safety of our students and staff is our absolute top priority. Given the high rates of flu and other respiratory conditions and viruses as we head into winter, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) has issued a universal indoor masking recommendation for all indoor settings, including schools and daycare centers.
As always, we follow the guidance of our health experts, and at the recommendation of our partners at DOHMH, we strongly encourage every student and staff member to wear a well-fitting mask indoors. All our schools have masks available – if your child needs a mask, they should reach out to school staff for assistance. We also encourage all members of our school community to stay up to date with vaccinations, including flu and COVID-19.
For more information about COVID-19 health and safety precautions and guidance at New York City public schools, please visit our COVID Information landing page.
A Message to Families on the First Day of School from Chancellor David C. Banks: September 8, 2022
American Sign Language (video)
Welcome to the 2022–2023 school year!
As the father of four children, I still remember the excitement of September and my kids’ jitters over what the new school year would bring. Would they like their teachers? Would it be easy to make new friends? Would they do well in their classes? I reassured them that the adults in their school would cherish them as much as I did at home.
Now, as I prepare to experience my first “first day of school” as Chancellor, I am grateful for you and for our educators, who are as excited as I am to welcome your children back. I also appreciate that in sending your children into our classrooms, you are placing great trust in us—trust that we will challenge your children intellectually so they can live out their wildest dreams. Trust that we will keep them safe and help them grow as human beings. Trust that they will graduate with a pathway to a rewarding career and enjoy long-term economic security. Trust that we will teach your children how to be a positive force for change in our world.
I am committed to doing all of this—and more.
My team and I have spent the summer reimagining the student experience so that it better serves your children. Literacy, which is the foundational building block of all learning, will be a major focus this school year. We are transforming how we teach reading by implementing a high-quality, phonics-based literacy program in all elementary schools. We are extending learning beyond the four walls of the classroom, offering students regular visits to local museums, parks, and all the incredible resources our great city has to offer. At the same time, we are improving students’ digital learning experiences.
This year, we are also offering more of the learning opportunities you have requested, enhancing the way we serve all children. This includes an increase in Community Schools, Gifted & Talented programs, bilingual education programs, and programs to improve long-term academic outcomes for students with disabilities. Wellness and its role in student success is another priority you’ll be hearing more about.
I can’t write to families without recognizing you as the lifeblood of our school communities and our true partners in your child’s education. Be on the lookout for improved ways to access the information and support you need to help your children succeed. This will include expanded language access supports for families who speak languages other than English and more opportunities for us to work together.
Thank you for choosing NYC Public Schools. I know that there have been challenges, and I hope you agree that our schools stand ready to put all children on the path to the bright, bold futures they deserve. I encourage you to visit schools.nyc.gov/bts2022 to find the most up-to-date information about the new school year.
As always, I am honored to partner with you to better serve our children. I truly believe that the best is yet to come. So, let’s get the 2022–2023 school year started!
Update for Families on Health & Safety: Week of August 29, 2022
We’re excited to welcome you back to school on Thursday, September 8! As you prepare for the first day of school, we want to ensure that you’ve received New York City’s most up-to-date guidance on health and safety.
Reduce COVID-19 Risk
- Get vaccinated! This is the best way to reduce COVID-19 risk.
- We strongly encourage all eligible New Yorkers to stay up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots. To find a vaccine site near you, visit nyc.gov/vaccinefinder or text your zip code to 438829. For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, visit nyc.gov/covidvaccine.
- Vaccination is still required for all visitors entering school buildings. This includes NYC Department of Education (DOE) employees; anyone who works in DOE buildings; and anyone participating in high-risk extracurricular activities, including Public School Athletic League (PSAL) sports. To learn more, please visit schools.nyc.gov/2022health.
- Wear masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Masks will be available at your school. We recommend wearing well-fitting masks when indoors, and when exposed to someone with COVID-19 in or outside of school. All students and staff are required to wear a mask when:
- Entering the school medical room, nurse’s office, or school-based health center,
- Returning to school (including traveling by school bus) between days 6 to 10 after a COVID positive test or, if earlier, after the onset of symptoms, and
- Showing symptoms of COVID-19 at school.
- Test for COVID-19. Starting on the first day of school, schools will offer home test kits to students and staff who may be at risk of exposure and students or staff experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. In addition, each staff member and student will receive four tests per month to take home. In-school PCR testing will not be a part of the 2022-23 school year.
- Stay home if you are sick. If students and staff show any symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses, they should stay home and get tested for COVID-19. This year, you will not need to complete a Daily Health Screening to enter school buildings.
- Isolate if you are COVID-19 positive. Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for at least 5 days and can return to school on day 6 (masked through day 10) if they have no symptoms or if symptoms are improving. Be sure to report a positive case to your child’s school.
This year, schools will continue to follow CDC guidelines, using air purifiers and updated HVAC systems. Building ventilation will be monitored daily, and surfaces cleaned regularly.
Get Vaccinated Against Polio
Poliovirus has been identified in wastewater samples in New York City, following a case of polio identified in Rockland County. Everyone who is unvaccinated against polio — especially children — should get vaccinated immediately. Parents can check the records for their children here: myvaccinerecord.cityofnewyork.us/myrecord. Vaccination against polio is required to attend school in New York City.
If your child needs to get vaccinated against polio, make an appointment with your pediatrician or regular health care provider. If your doctor does not have the polio vaccine or you do not have a doctor, call 311. Children should get four doses of poliovirus vaccine, starting at age 2 months. Anyone starting the vaccine after age 4 months should receive a total of three doses.
Find out more about protecting yourself and your children against polio at nyc.gov/health/polio.
Learn About Monkeypox
Monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus, usually spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with the sores of someone who has monkeypox. It can also be spread through contact with clothing or bedding, or from respiratory droplets during face-to-face contact. In this current monkeypox outbreak, the virus has spread mainly among adults during close contact, such as during sex, kissing, cuddling, and massage. It can cause sores that may look like pimples or blisters, be firm to the touch, and have a dip in the center. Some people also have flu-like symptoms.
- Do not assume someone has monkeypox if they have a rash or sores. Most rashes and sores are not caused by monkeypox virus. Sores are very common among children, and are usually due to bug bites, acne, allergies, or other causes that are not contagious and do not require staying home from school, child care, or afterschool activities.
- Children who have a new or unexplained rash or sores should be seen by the school nurse or by their health care provider. You can find more information on monkeypox at nyc.gov/monkeypox.
Get Ready to Go Back to School on Thursday, September 8!
As you and your child gear up for the first day of school, get off to a flying start with these suggestions. For more tips, read our Back to School Checklist at schools.nyc.gov/checklist.
Sign Language Interpretation