Safe and Healthy Learning for All

Fall 2021 marks an important homecoming for our schools. On September 13, we begin the journey to recovery by welcoming New York City students back to school communities and classrooms where they can feel safe and well-cared for, and where they can learn and grow socially, emotionally, and academically.

Our return to full-time, in-person learning starts with a safe and healthy learning environment for every student and staff member and ensuring students have the tools and support they need to succeed.

Homecoming Health and Safety Guide

Welcome to the School Year

As we return to school during this first week, families should take two important actions:

  1. Get your children vaccinated if they are aged 12 and older
  2. Submit consent for COVID-19 testing
  3. Use the Health Screening Application for a daily health check in for your student.

COVID-19 Vaccines for Children Ages 12 and Older

Vaccination is the most important step you can take to protect you and your family from COVID-19, and all New Yorkers aged 12 and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccination is safe, free, and available regardless of immigration status. 

If you have a child who is at least 12 years old, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the New York City Department of Education strongly encourage you to make a vaccination appointment for them as soon as possible by visiting

  • You can also call 877-VAX-4-NYC (877-829-4692) for help making an appointment at a City-run vaccination site. Many sites now have walk-in appointments. 
  • For answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit

DOE Vaccination Portal

To submit your child’s proof of vaccination, families should use the COVID-19 Vaccination Portal. For more information about how to use the portal, please visit our Health and Safety page.

In School Vaccination Sites

If you are a New Yorker age 12 and up you can now receive a free COVID-19 vaccine at a school near you during the first week of school.

Vaccine Requirements for Eligible Students Participating in High Risk Extracurricular Activities

Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) Vaccination Policy

COVID-19 vaccination will be required this year for DOE students and staff participating in Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) sports considered high-risk for potential COVID-19 transmission. High-risk sports include football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, lacrosse, stunt, and rugby. Vaccination will also be required for participation in bowling because it takes place in spaces that require vaccination.

Participants in fall high-risk sports must get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the first day of competitive play, which varies by sport. Winter and spring PSAL participants have until the beginning of their season to be fully vaccinated. Get additional information about health and safety protocols for PSAL in the 2021-22 school year.

Extracurricular Activities Vaccination Policy

Consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and State guidance, COVID-19 vaccination will be required this year for students who are at least 12 years old and are participating in afterschool extracurricular activities considered high-risk for potential COVID-19 transmission.

High risk afterschool activities include:

  • Chorus
  • Musical Theater
  • Dance / Dance Team
  • Band / Orchestra / Marching Band
  • Cheerleading / Step Teams / Flag Team

Please reach out to your school for additional information regarding participation in these activities.

Providing Consent for COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 testing of students (grades 1 through 12) and staff is an important part of how New York City is protecting our school communities. In order for your child in to participate in the in-school COVID testing program, it is important that you provide consent.

Health Screening

Every student and staff member must complete the Health Screening Form prior to entering the school building each day. Anyone entering the building must confirm that they are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, have not recently tested positive for COVID-19, and are not currently required to quarantine based on close contact with an infected person. If you need a thermometer to check for a fever, you can request one from your school.

If a student or staff member is feeling ill, they must stay home and get tested, which is an effective way of protecting the whole school community. Every school will have a nurse on staff to whom students can report if they are feeling ill.

Health and Safety in Our Schools

Your child’s school is taking many important precautions to help keep students and staff healthy and safe this school year.

Visit the Health and Safety in Our Schools page for more information on:

  • Vaccination
  • Health Screening
  • Face Coverings 
  • Physical Distancing 
  • Ventilation
  • Cleaning
  • Outdoor Learning 
  • COVID-19 Testing 
  • Closure and Quarantine 
  • Medically Necessary Instruction

Watch: Homecoming NYC

Other Important Information

School Year Calendar

View important dates and find printable files in multiple languages for the 2021-22 school year at the 2021-22 calendar page. The NYC Schools online calendar, which includes the latest information about upcoming family events and workshops throughout the year, can be viewed at Calendar.

Need Help Finding a School?

New to New York City schools, or need help with the enrollment process? Visit the New Students page for detailed information about enrollment in NYC public schools for grades from 3-K through 12.

Get a New York City Schools Account

Make sure that your school can reach you with important information and alerts by updating your contact information in your NYC Schools Account.

If you do not have a NYC Schools Account, you can sign up for an account by entering a few basic details. This will allow you to begin receiving notifications from the DOE.

Language Access

Parents have the right to receive information or communicate with a staff member at their school or Department of Education (DOE) office in their language. If you or someone you know needs help, tell your school’s principal or parent coordinator, call the DOE at (718) 935-2013 or email You can find more information and important resources, including the Parent Guide to Language Access, at NYC Public Schools Speak Your Language. Learn more about your rights under Chancellor’s Regulation A-663 at Language Access Policy.

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