REC Overview for Families

What is a Regional Enrichment Center (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 RECs around the city each offer remote instruction; three hot meals a day; and childcare; along with art, music, and physical education. RECs, including over 100 early childcare centers and more than 50 3K–12 sites, are in neighborhoods across all five boroughs.

The first tier of outreach will be to health care providers, first responders, and key transit workers. As we move forward, we will seek to include additional essential service providers and children in shelters.

In the best interest of our medically fragile students, we do not recommend they attend RECs, and are working with the Department of Health to ensure they have continuous medical services.

When will RECs open?

RECs will begin operation on Monday, March 23, 2020.

How can I enroll my child?

The DOE is reaching out to frontline workers, including first responders and health care workers; transit workers; sanitation workers; City agency essential staff; and partner organizations/agencies to help enroll their children through an easily accessible online form. A response will be generated back to the family with the offered site, and we will prioritize geographical proximity to their residence.

Does my child need to bring anything with them to the RECs?

Your child should bring a device (e.g., laptop, tablet, or phone) that they can use for remote instruction, if possible.

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.)

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.

Who will staff these sites?

RECs are operated by dedicated DOE staff, as well as staff from our partners at dozens of community-based organizations. We are grateful to the numerous DOE employees who have already offered to help staff these sites.


Letter form Chancellor Carranza and Heath Commissioner Barbot: May 11, 2020

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Thank you for enrolling your child(ren) in one of the city’s Regional Enrichment Centers (REC). Health and safety is our top priority, and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (Health Department) and the Department of Education (DOE) continue to work together to keep the city’s students, families, and staff members safe, healthy, and informed as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic evolves.

The NYC Department of Health is currently investigating cases of Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome, or PMIS, a new health condition appearing in children in New York City and elsewhere. The NYC Health Department is also investigating the possible association between PMIS and COVID-19 in children. Some doctors think the condition is related to having COVID-19, but the connection is still not clear.

PMIS is a rare condition that is not contagious. However, because it is life-threatening, it is important to know the signs. Most children have a persistent, high temperature lasting several days, along with other symptoms, including:

  • Irritability or sluggishness
  • Abdominal pain without another explanation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Rash
  • Conjunctivitis, or red or pink eyes
  • Enlarged lymph node (“gland”) on one side of the neck
  • Red, cracked lips or red tongue that looks like a strawberry
  • Swollen hands and feet, which might also be red

You should call your doctor if your child becomes ill and has had continued fever. Your doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and use that information to recommend next steps. If your child is severely ill, you should go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 immediately.

Although we do not know yet if PMIS is related to COVID-19, we are continuing to take all possible precautions to prevent your child from being exposed to COVID-19 while attending a REC. Your REC will provide face masks, which must be worn by everyone in attendance, including children. Students and staff must also continue to practice good hand hygiene and physical distancing. Staff will help teach and reinforce these habits to all.

Children with chronic medical conditions can be at higher risk for poor outcomes of COVID-19 and should take special care to adhere to prevention measures.

The health and safety of our communities remains our top priority, and we will continue to follow all guidance and take all appropriate measures to help keep our students, families, and staff members safe.

Please do not hesitate to contact your REC site supervisor with any questions.

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