On behalf of the New York City Department of Education, please accept the submission of the following reopening plan. This plan meets the standards as outlined by the State Department of Health and the State Education Department and is informed by deep engagement with school community stakeholders. It may be updated in the coming days and weeks.
Nothing is more important to me than the health and safety of our students, educators, and school communities. Over the past four months, the New York City Department of Education has been exhaustively planning for a coordinated reopening of school buildings in an ever-changing landscape, while keeping health and safety at the center of our planning. We have leveraged the expertise of our partners at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, NYC Health and Hospitals, and the New York City Test + Trace Corps to develop rigorous protocols to ensure our schools are well prepared. With their collaboration, we will take swift and decisive action when needed to address any issues of concern and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in school buildings.
This submission builds on the preliminary plans released on July 8 in which I outlined essential planning information to school communities regarding social distancing, health and hygiene measures, and models to ensure safe instructional programming of students while still ensuring academic rigor. Despite the once-unimaginable challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis, we remain as committed as ever to providing a high-quality education to every student. To achieve these goals, NYCDOE is committed to providing continuous policy updates and has been doing so on a weekly basis since, both on our website and via regular updates to our principals and school communities. All of our policies will always be guided first and foremost by health and safety.
The information included in this plan will be similarly shared with stakeholders, whose input and voices have been critical to its development. We know that it is essential that we navigate this new territory in partnership with school communities across the city. We have listened to the voices of families and students to ensure our plans are responsive to their needs and concerns. We have lifted up the voices of educators and worked collaboratively with principals to keep the safety of our staff as a driving factor of our decision-making. Additionally, we created multiple opportunities for feedback and questions through citywide and school-based information sessions, which will continue over the next several weeks.
As we continue to prepare for the 2020-2021 school year—which will look like no other in history—I am confident in the preparedness of the New York City Department of Education. We have the best students, staff, and families anywhere in the world. Working together, we can meet the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19 while ensuring a safe, welcoming, and academically rigorous return to school.
Richard A. Carranza