COVID-19 Guidance

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

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.

  • Vaccination: Vaccination is the best way to reduce COVID-19 risk. Encourage up to date COVID-19 vaccination for everyone six months or older.

    • Visit the vaccine finder page or call 877-829-4692 to find a location near you.

    • Up to date includes boosters for everyone who is eligible and additional primary shots for some immunocompromised people. See At-A-Glance COVID-19 Vaccination Schedules.

    • Vaccination Requirements:

      • Vaccination is still required for all visitors entering school buildings

      • Vaccination is still required for all DOE employees

      • Vaccination is still required for other individuals who work in DOE buildings

      • Vaccinations is still required to participate in high-risk extracurricular activities including high-risk PSAL sports

  • Daily Health Screener:

    • No longer required to enter school buildings

  • Stay home if sick: Students and staff should stay home if they show any symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses and get tested for COVID-19.

  • Isolate if COVID-19 positive: Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for 5 days and can return to school on day 6 if they have no symptoms or symptoms are improving. They must wear mask until day 10 after symptom onset or date of positive test, whichever is earlier.

    • These cases should be reported to their school so they can be report into the sit room for exposure notifications.

  • Get tested if exposed to COVID-19: Students and staff who are exposed to COVID-19 should get tested.

    • These individuals should receive home tests from their school and take two tests, at least 24 hours apart on day 4 and day 5 of their exposure. All exposed individuals should monitor for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms for 10 days after their exposure. If symptoms begin, they should not attend school and should isolate and get tested for COVID-19 again right away.

  • Testing:

    • Starting the first day of school, schools will offer home test kits to those with a potential in-school exposure and those with symptoms

    • In addition, each staff and student will receive 4 tests per month to take home. These tests can be used by school families for testing due to symptoms, exposures, high-risk activity (such as travel and large gatherings) and can give staff and students immediate results.

    • In-school PCR surveillance testing will not be a part of the 2022-23 school year.

  • Situation Room:

    • Schools will be required to report positive cases of COVID-19 to the situation room.

    • The Situation Room will provide schools with standardized communications for their communities and will notify school communities of cases in their schools through daily email and the Daily COVID map.

  • Masking- Face coverings are strongly recommended to be worn when indoors. Masks will be made available at the school for all those who need/want them.

    • Students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask when:

      • Returning to school on the sixth day after testing positive for COVID-19, through day 10 after symptom onset or date of positive test, whichever is earlier, including when traveling on a school bus.

      • Entering the school medical room, nurse’s office, or school-based health center.

      • Exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 at school.

    • Students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, are strongly recommended to wear a mask:

      • When they were exposed to someone with COVID-19, whether the exposure occurred in school or outside of school. The person should wear a mask for 10 days after their last day of exposure and get tested at least 24 hours apart on day 4 and day 5 of their exposure.

      • When they are moderately-to-severely immunocompromised, and masking is recommended by their healthcare provider.

      • In crowded indoor settings

  • Ventilation:

    • 160K+ air purifiers distributed to schools – at least two in every classroom

    • Monitoring ventilation in buildings on a daily basis and perform any required work in a timely manner

    • HVAC upgrades in alignment with CDC guidance, including 110,000 MERV-13 filters installed

  • School Building Cleaning:

    • Routine cleaning of surfaces will be maintained

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:

  • Wear a mask. We recommend that everyone age 2 and older wear a well-fitting mask in all public indoor settings, including at school and early childhood education (ECE) programs, even if not required. Encourage your child to wear a mask while at school or ECE program and when gathering with friends. Your child’s school has masks available.

  • Get vaccinated and boosted. Everyone age 5 and older should get vaccinated against COVID-19, including getting a booster shot when eligible. Vaccines have saved countless lives and are our best defense against the virus. Find a vaccination site at nyc.gov/vaccinefinder ↗️ or by calling 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692). You can get vaccinated for free, regardless of immigration or insurance status.

  • Stay home when sick. Everyone should stay home if they are sick or test positive for COVID-19 and follow all guidance, including wearing a well-fitting face mask for 10 days.

  • Get tested. Everyone should get tested if they have COVID-19 symptoms, were recently with someone who has COVID-19, recently traveled or were at a large event. Schools are giving each child four at-home tests per week and testing is available throughout the city. To find a testing site, visit nyc.gov/covidtest ↗️. Testing is free at many sites.

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 nyc.gov/health/covidtreatments ↗️. 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 schools.nyc.gov/2021health ↗️ 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 schools.nyc.gov/HomeRapidTestKits.↗️

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 vaccinefinder.nyc.gov. ↗️

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