Back to School Checklist for Families

Here are a few things you and your children can do to be fully prepared for going back to school, both for their health and safety and academic success:

Health and Safety

Get Vaccinated

The most important step you and your family can take to be protected against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. Vaccination is safe, free, and available regardless of immigration status. All New Yorkers aged 12 and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and you can make a vaccination appointment for yourself and your eligible child as soon as possible by visiting if you have not already done so. 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.

Once vaccinated, you can upload an image of your vaccination card or NYC Excelsior Pass to the DOE’s vaccination portal . Submitting that information will support New York City’s pandemic response and recovery efforts, helping to ensure that DOE schools remain safe places.

Make Sure You Have Masks for Your Children

All students and staff must wear a face covering when riding on school buses and anywhere on school property, indoors and outdoors, regardless of vaccination status, unless they have a medical exemption. So please be sure to have a supply of masks at home for your children to wear to school this year. Of course, every school will also have masks on hand for children who lose or forget theirs. But please do your part to make sure they have theirs on when they head out the door every morning.

Bookmark our Health Screening Web Page

Before entering school buildings each day, every student and staff member must complete the Health Screening Form to confirm that they are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, have not recently tested positive, and are not currently required to quarantine based on close contact with an infected person.

  • We recommend bookmarking so you can quickly and easily complete the form before sending your child to school each day.

Complete the Consent Form Required for COVID testing

Continuing the safety measures introduced in the previous school year, we will be conducting regular COVID testing of staff and students grades 1 through 12. That way, action can be taken right away to protect the school community if there’s a positive case. In order for your child to participate in the in-school testing program, you must submit an updated testing consent form for your child to your school.

Getting Ready for School

Make sure your school has your current contact information

To be sure your child’s school can reach you in an emergency, be sure to complete the emergency contact form in your NYC Schools Account (NYCSA) which lets staff members at the school’s main office know about any changes to your address, phone number, or other information. If you do not have an 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.

  • Learn more about the NYC Schools Account and how to create an account and confirm your information .
  • Your school will share a paper version with you if you do not have a NYC Schools Account.

Meet your school’s parent coordinator

Parent coordinators are important members of every school community, as they can get answers to many of your school-related questions and concerns. Call or visit your child’s school to get your parent coordinator’s contact information.

  • You can use our Find a School tool to identify your parent coordinator through your school’s website .

Set a standard bedtime and morning routine before the first day of school

Adequate sleep is very important to a child’s physical and emotional health, and to their academic success—and children more hours of sleep than adults! Start now to get your children on a regular sleep schedule and get them used to waking up in time for school. In addition, a few days before school starts, consider practicing your family’s morning routine, including: getting ready, eating breakfast, packing a backpack, and heading out the door and off to your bus stop or subway station in order to arrive at school on time. This will not only help get your child comfortable with the all the necessary steps of getting ready for the school day, but give you a better idea of how much time your family will need to complete the morning routine and trip to school each day. Practicing that routine in advance is especially important if your child is attending a new school.

Ask your parent coordinator or principal about translation and interpretation services

Your school can provide you with free translation and interpretation services. Learn more about these services from your school’s parent coordinator or principal. For sign-language interpretation services, please call (212) 802-1500, ext. 7181.

Review the 2021-22 NYC school calendar

View important dates and find printable files in multiple languages for the 2021-22 school year.

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