COVID-19 Guidance

Please visit the DOE website ↗️ for more COVID-19 guidance and informaition.

A Message to Families about the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate: February 8, 2023

Per the Mayor’s announcement on Monday, the New York City Board of Health is expected to make changes to the City’s current vaccination requirements this week. Specifically, as of February 10, 2023, NYC Department of Education (DOE) staff and other individuals in DOE schools and buildings – including visitors and family members – would no longer be required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. This means that COVID-19 vaccination would be optional for DOE staff and others who work in DOE buildings, as well as for volunteers at school-led functions such as field trips and others participating in activities in school buildings.

Schools will continue to provide masks and have COVID-19 tests available for distribution for students and staff. These tests can be used by students, staff, and family members for testing due to symptoms, in case of known exposure, or for testing after participation in high-risk activity (such as travel and large gatherings).

As a reminder, staying up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations is still the best tool we have to fight COVID-19 and to keep our schools safe for all our students. Children aged 6 months and older are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Updated bivalent COVID-19 vaccine boosters are now available for people aged 6 months and older. We encourage all those eligible to receive these boosters. If your child is eligible but not yet vaccinated or boosted against COVID-19, please take the opportunity to make an appointment ↗️ for more information on COVID-19 vaccination schedules. Stay up to date with our current covid information. ↗️

To protect against COVID-19 and other viruses, and in alignment with the recent health department advisory, we strongly recommend that everyone wear a mask at all times when in a crowded, public indoor space, including at school; practice frequent handwashing; and cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

DOE Fall 2022 COVID-19 Guidance

This guidance provides best practice considerations for schools for the 2022-2023 school year to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 among students and staff.

COVID-19 High Alert Level: May 17, 2022 

Due to recent increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in New York City, the city is now at a COVID-19 high (orange) alert level. This means there is significant spread of COVID-19 in the city.

We urge you to take the following proven precautions to protect your family and our communities:

Consider other precautions, such as avoiding crowds, limiting gatherings to a small number of people, increasing ventilation, and wearing a higher quality mask. This is especially important for people who are at increased risk due to age, underlying medical condition, or because they are unvaccinated.

If you or your child tests positive for COVID-19, call your health-care provider or 212-COVID19 (212-268-4319) to ask about treatment options for people age 12 and older. To learn more, including about who is eligible, visit ↗️. If your child tests positive, please inform their school or ECE program. Children who test positive or are home with symptoms can receive free online learning and office hours while out sick.

If we all do our part, we can beat this COVID-19 wave and enjoy a safe and healthy spring and summer.

Update for Families on Continued COVID-19 Home Test Kit Distribution: April 27, 2022

Our school communities remain safe following spring recess. We thank you for using the COVID-19 home tests that were distributed earlier this month. As cases rise again across New York City, we will continue to provide every student with four COVID-19 home tests each week until further notice. Two tests are for use on your child and two are for a family member to use. Please use these tests every week, at least five days apart, unless experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Please note, if there is a classroom exposure your child will still receive two test kits and a notification letter from the Situation Room, and would then receive two more test kits during the week.

If you or anyone in your household tests positive, we are very pleased that safe, effective COVID-19 treatments, including anti-viral medications, are available for some individuals ages 12 and older who test positive. You can access these medications through your doctor or health care provider, or you can call 212-COVID19 to discuss treatment options with a medical professional. Treatment works best when it is started as soon as possible after symptoms start and can help reduce symptoms and help to avoid hospitalization. For more information, please see the COVID-19 Treatments Available document ↗️ for additional information.

Find more information on the Messages for Families ↗️ DOE website.

March 7 Face Covering Update

We are pleased to announce that, face coverings will be optional on school grounds for students in kindergarten through grade 12 beginning Monday, March 7.

To maintain the safety of our staff and students, we will continue to practice strict COVID-19 protocols, including increased ventilation, a daily health screening, and test kit distribution. Mask-wearing will become optional indoors, outside, and on school buses. Anyone who chooses to wear a mask may continue to do so, and your child may request a mask from their school if they need one.

The indoor mask mandate is still active for LYFE, Early Learn (Infants & Toddlers), 3-K, Pre-K, and 4410 classrooms. Children two years old and older, and all staff in these classrooms, must continue to wear a face-covering indoors. Since children under the age of five are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine, face coverings remain our strongest defense against COVID-19 for our youngest learners.

In addition, any staff member or student in grades Kindergarten or higher returning on Day 6 following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or after having COVID-19 symptoms without testing is still required to wear a well-fitting mask at all times on school property through Day 10.

Masks are strongly recommended for any staff member or student who knows they have been exposed to COVID-19 within the previous 10 days. Mask wearing is still required in medical rooms and nurses’ offices, as well as in School-Based Health Centers. Nurses will have masks on hand for anyone entering who may need one.

Update for Families on COVID-19 Health and Safety Policies: January 28, 2022

Under our “Stay Safe, Stay Open” plan, our schools have remained open and among the safest places for young people to be during the pandemic, including during the Omicron surge. We are determined to build on that progress. This Family Update provides important information about our latest health and safety policies, which will take effect on Monday, January 31.

Updated COVID-19 Health and Safety Policies 

Printable Decision Charts

We recognize that families need clear information to help them make decisions. For a visual guide to the policies explained in detail below, visit ↗️ for two charts that outline the steps you should take if your child feels sick, was exposed to COVID-19, or tested positive for COVID-19.

Shortened Isolation Period for COVID-19 Cases

Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New York State Department of Health (DOH) guidance, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) has shortened the isolation period for K-12 students with a positive COVID-19 test result from 10 days to 5 days. This means if your child tests positive for COVID-19 and is in kindergarten or higher, your child can return to school on Day 6 if they have no symptoms or their symptoms are improving, and they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication. Students returning from isolation on Day 6 must wear a well-fitting mask such as a KN95, KF94, or a cloth mask over a disposable surgical mask on Days 6–10.

Please be aware that any child (in any grade) who has completed their isolation period is NOT required to show proof of a negative test result before being allowed to return to school.

Shortened Quarantine for COVID-19 Exposure

The CDC and DOH also shortened the quarantine period for students exposed to COVID-19. Students in grades kindergarten or higher will continue to use home test kits to stay in school after an in-school exposure. If your child is NOT fully vaccinated and was exposed to COVID-19 outside of a school setting, your child must quarantine for at least 5 days; this is reduced from 10 days. If your child is fully vaccinated and was exposed outside of school, your child can continue to attend school so long as they do not have any symptoms. All students are required to wear masks while on school grounds, and students returning from isolation or quarantine on Day 6 must wear a well-fitting mask such as a KN95, KF94, or a cloth mask over a disposable surgical mask on Days 6–10.

Children who are at least 2 years old in LYFE, 3K, and Pre-K classrooms only need to quarantine for 5 days if they are symptom-free, able to wear a well-fitting mask through Day 10, and have a negative COVID-19 test from a health care provider on Day 5 OR two negative home test results from Day 4 and Day 5.

Children under 2 years old in LYFE classrooms must still quarantine for up to 10 days but can return to school on Day 8 if they are symptom-free AND have a negative COVID-19 test from a health care provider on Day 5 or later. Home tests are not considered valid for this age group unless administered at the direction of a health care provider.

Any child in an LYFE, 3-K, or Pre-K classroom that was exposed but does NOT get tested for COVID-19 can return after completing a 10-day quarantine.

For an unvaccinated student of any age who is exposed to COVID-19 in the home, if the COVID-positive household member and student are staying in the same home, the student must continue to quarantine for at least 5 additional days after the household member’s isolation period has ended.

Please note: if your child has recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days, they do not need to quarantine following exposure and may continue to attend school unless they develop COVID-like symptoms.

COVID-19 Home Test Kits

Children ages 2 and up who are exposed to COVD-19 at school will receive two tests. The test kits come with printed instructions that you should follow when administering the test. You can also watch videos in multiple languages on how to use your test kit at↗️

Please note: if your child has recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days, they will not receive a test kit and may continue to attend school unless they develop COVID-like symptoms.

Remote Instruction for Students Isolating Due to COVID-19

Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 and is isolating at home is entitled to asynchronous remote instruction and access to office hours with a teacher based on availability. Your school will provide details about how children in those circumstances can access remote instruction and office hours.

Keeping Our Communities Healthy

Daily Health Screener

Starting Monday, January 31, the daily health screening form will be revised to reflect new health policies and options for those recently recovered from COVID-19. Please continue to help your child complete the health screener every day before coming to school. 

Face Covering Reminder

The DOE’s face covering policy continues to be in effect. All students over the age of two years old must wear a face covering when entering a DOE building unless they have a medical exemption. Face coverings must be worn both indoors and outdoors when on DOE grounds, regardless of COVID-19 vaccine status.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) recommends that all individuals should consider wearing two masks or a higher-grade mask, such as a KN95 or KF94. Using a cloth mask over a disposable mask improves the fit and adds additional protective layers.

COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

Students ages 12 and older who received their second Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least five months ago can now receive booster shots to further strengthen their immunity against COVID-19 and help safeguard our community against the virus. Additionally, children ages 5 to 11 with certain immunocompromising conditions who received their Pfizer-BioNTech initial vaccine series at least 28 days ago are now eligible for a booster shot. The CDC and DOH strongly encourage all eligible New Yorkers to get their booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is free and widely available. To find a vaccine site near you, visit ↗️

If you have questions about booster shots, talk to your health care provider or call 311.