I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. I am writing to you today with an important update on the start of school.
As you know, for months we have been preparing to reopen our school buildings. Thanks to all of you and everything you have done over the last six months, the city’s low infection rate makes us the only major city in the country able to welcome our children back to our schools for in-person learning.
Just as you have done everything necessary to reduce the COVID-19 infection rate, we have made a pledge to you that we would put health and safety first. That is what we have done – inspecting tens of thousands of classrooms for proper ventilation; distributing millions of masks, bottles of hand sanitizers and cases of cleaning supplies; prioritizing students and staff for expedited COVID-19 testing; developing a swift testing, quarantine, and tracing protocol anytime we might see COVID-19 activity in our schools; and more.
We must continue living up to that pledge as we get closer to opening our buildings, knowing that this year demands more supplies, more staff, more space, more inspections, and more training. To do that, we have some new updates on the school calendar to announce.
All students will still begin full-time instruction on Monday, September 21. School buildings will reopen to our students in blended learning (in-person in schools some days of the week, and remotely from home other days of the week) on a phased basis, detailed below. Here is the updated calendar for the start of the 2020-21 school year:
- Children enrolled in fully remote programs will still begin full-day instruction on Monday, September 21.
- Children in blended learning (in-person in schools some days of the week, and remotely from home other days of the week) will be learning remotely beginning Monday, September 21 until their in-person start date as outlined below. Please reach out to your child’s school if you have questions about when your child should report according to their blended learning schedule.
I know this is a last-minute change. This crisis has demanded so much flexibility and patience from you and your children since the beginning, and I am in awe of how you have risen to meet the challenges and uncertainty this pandemic has presented. Everything we do is to try to provide stability and certainty, while protecting the health and safety of our city.
I am deeply grateful every day for each of you, and the commitment you have shown to your children and this city.
So many of you have told us how eager you are to reconnect with your school communities – I know I am excited for that as well. We believe this extra time will help make sure that all schools and all educators are in the best position to deliver a strong, safe, and supportive environment for teaching and learning to take place.
I always say that New York City has the best students, staff, and families in the world, and nothing will ever change that—no matter when, where, and how we are learning.
Thank you for everything you do.
Richard A. Carranza
New York City Department of Education