Return to School 2020

While it’s impossible to predict what September will look like, there is no question that next year will look different. Our families are our partners as we chart this new path forward, and we heard from 300,000 of them—in addition to 110,000 students—in a citywide survey on reopening our school buildings. The survey findings, along with information from public health experts, will continue to guide our reopening plans. Highlights of survey findings are below, along with daily health and safety precautions we plan to have in place to keep school buildings clean for in-person learning.

We will continue to share more information with you throughout July as we continue to navigate this new reality.

Highlights of Survey Results

Health and Safety

  • More than 90% of respondents identified the importance of having cleaning supplies such as hand sanitizer available
  • 48% of student respondents (Grades 6-12) said they were very or mostly comfortable wearing a mask to school every day, along with
    • 43% of families grades Pre-K -2 
    • 51% of families grades 3-8
    • 62% of families grades 9-12

Preferred Schedules

  • 56% of students and 53% of families reported feeling very or mostly comfortable sending their child to a school building every day
  • When presented with the option to alternate days, alternate weeks, or learn at home every day, 
    • 25% of students and 26% of families prefer to learn from home every day 
    • 48% of students and 53% of families prefer alternating days
    • 25% of students and 19% of families prefer alternating weeks

For families that want to have an all-remote schedule next fall, we will be sending additional information in the coming weeks on how to register. Students will not need a medical reason to register for this option.

Student Experience

  • 76% of students and 81% of families identified core instruction areas (math, science, social studies, ELA) as priorities for in-person instruction more than other classes like PE, art and electives
  • 55% of students and 69% of families prefer having a variety of methods to learn at home, including paper packets, live instruction, and one-on-one tutoring

Health and Safety Protocols

As we have said from the beginning, we will always lead with health and safety. We are taking the following steps in order to maintain healthy environments for students and staff.

Promoting Behaviors That Reduce Spread

In order to create healthy environments in our buildings, we will:

  • Be strongly recommending all people in school remain at least 6 feet apart at all times.
  • Have requirements for face coverings while inside buildings.
  • Increase access to hand washing and sanitizer.

Changes to School Buildings

Which will include:

  • Configuring space to ensure physical distancing
  • Identifying an Isolation Room in the event someone becomes ill
  • Holding lunch in classrooms or requiring assigned seating in cafeterias

Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfection

  • Our buildings will get deep cleaning on a nightly basis with electrostatic sprayers which dispense disinfectant so that it adheres to surfaces without the need to physically touch them, and we will have improved HVAC systems for better ventilation. 
  • The DOE will also order cleaning supplies, including hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, in addition to providing disposable face coverings to students and staff, and many other cleaning supplies.
  • We also continue to monitor testing and screening guidance, and will be working with principals to determine best practices for entry and exit protocols. 
  • Schools will continue to follow health guidance that states the best thing to do is to stay home when sick, and we will partner with NYC Health + Hospitals on contact tracing and follow-up.
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