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Saturday, September 11, 2021

Message From Chancellor Meisha Porter For All Who Will Attend School on September 13, 2021

NYC Chancellor Meisha Porter

From the desk of Chancellor Meisha Porter:

Twenty years ago on September 11, 2001, our world and New York City changed forever. -As a lifelong New Yorker, I personally know the fear and confusion that so many of us experienced that day. I was in my classroom teaching at the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice that morning as my family frantically tried to contact my father who worked at the World Trade Center and my three-year-old daughter was in pre-k in Harlem. It was a scary day but together we found strength in community during that difficult time. Because of all the first responders I was one of the lucky ones, my dad made it home.

Recently, many students, educators, and family members from PS 89 and the Greenwich Village Middle School shared their September 11 experiences. Those stories, like countless others, remind us all of the profound humanity New Yorkers showed one another that day and the tremendous resilience of our school communities.

We will never forget those who were lost on September 11. This city, its neighborhoods, and school communities serve as their legacy as we continue to overcome challenges with grace and strength.

UPDATE: September 13th is the First Day of School for New York City Public Schools!

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.

NYC DOE sat down with students, families, and educators to talk about what it means to be back in school buildings this fall. In this video, they share their expectations and why they are excited for in-person learning to start again.

We are excited about getting everyone back into their classrooms for face-to-face learning with dedicated and caring educators! Given that we are all still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know many of you have questions about the health and safety precautions being used at City schools this year. Read more about what to expect below, and in The Morning Bell, an online publication designed for NYC students, parents, and educators.
UPDATE: Health Screening Tool

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 on your device so you can quickly and easily complete the form before sending your child to school each day.

Remember, if your child feels ill, do not send them to school! We want to keep your child and our school communities healthy and safe, and we must all do our part.

UPDATE: School Building Visitors

Effective Monday, September 13, all visitors to DOE school buildings are required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination (1 dose), in order to enter the building, except in the case of an emergency. This proof may be provided in several ways, please see for more information.

Pending an Order by the Health Commissioner​

On the first day of school, 3K/Pre-K parents, in small groups, are able to walk their children into the classroom and stay with them briefly on the first day of school without showing proof of vaccination. All other requirements apply. ​

In order to enter the building, a visitor must:​

show identification,​
have proof of vaccination, ​
complete the daily health screening form, and​
wear a face covering. ​

Staff, contractors, and volunteers remain required to provide proof of vaccination (1 dose) by September 27, 2021. Staff must upload proof to the DOE Vaccination Portal.

UPDATE: Department of Education (DOE) Vaccination Portal

Please upload an image of your child’s vaccination card or NYC Excelsior Pass to the DOE’s vaccine portal at

Submitting this information will support New York City’s pandemic response and recovery efforts, helping to ensure that our school communities remain safe and healthy.

UPDATE: Consent Forms for Covid-19 Testing

It is important that you provide consent for your child to participate in the in-school testing program. Submit your updated testing consent form for your child using your NYC Schools Account (NYCSA) at or by downloading the form online at and providing the completed printed form to your child’s school.

You can fill out the form using your NYC Schools Account (NYCSA):

Download the form online at

Don’t have an NYC Schools Account? Learn more at

Testing consent forms submitted in the previous school year expire on September 30, 2021. If you previously provided consent, your child may be tested this month as part of the in-school testing program—however, for your child to participate in the testing program for the remainder of this school year, you must submit a new consent form.

UPDATE: Vaccine Requirements for Eligible Students Participating in High Risk Extracurricular Activities
Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) Vaccination Policy

As a reminder, 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 while the sport is not high risk, the locations where it occurs 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. For additional information about health and safety protocols for PSAL in the 2021-22 school year, please visit

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:

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.

UPDATE: Pop Up Vaccination Sites

Thanks to a partnership between the DOE and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), all New Yorkers aged 12 and up can get free COVID-19 vaccines at select schools across the City. You can simply walk in by yourself or with any student, friend, or family member who needs a vaccine (minors will need parental consent) and get your “jab” for free—no health insurance or proof of citizenship will be required.

To help keep schools safe, the DOE and DOHMH strongly encourage all New Yorkers aged 12 and up to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. Many sites now have walk-in appointments, making it easier for any New Yorker to obtain the ultimate protection currently available for COVID-19.

For a limited time, New Yorkers can get giveaways for getting vaccinated against COVID-19, including free tickets, complimentary memberships, or even $100 pre-paid debit cards.

To find a vaccine site near you, visit, or call 877-VAX-4-NYC (877-829-4692) for help making an appointment at a City-run vaccination site.

UPDATE: Celebrate Homecoming on Parent University

Celebrate Homecoming on Parent University!

Learn and become an advocate! Parent University offers training, coaching, and other resources for families to help you advocate for the educational success of your children. Take courses and modules and even gain certificates of completion.

Did you know? There is a new way for you to stay connected to your student’s education and more in the new NYC Schools Account (NYCSA) Portal. One sign-in will allow you to:

See your student’s grades, test scores and more in My Student

Report bullying
Access forms for your child
And take classes in Parent University!

Need help? Visit YouTube for user tutorials. Download this flyer for instructions on how to enable captions in multiple languages.

Course Title

Homecoming NYC 2021

Back to School Family Forum (Bronx)

Back to School Family Forum (Brooklyn)

Back to School Family Forum (Queens)

Back to School Family Forum (Staten Island)

School Buildings & Operations

WEBINAR (10/6) - NYC Civil Service 101 Infosession: 10 AM Session

WEBINAR (10/6) - NYC Civil Service 101 Infosession: 6 PM Session

Adult & Continuing Education

We want your input! Are you a Minority and/or Woman-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) and want to work with NYCDOE? Help us plan an informative training session by responding to this short survey.

See you on Parent University!

UPDATE: New NYC Schools Account (NYSCA)

Families can now access the new NYC Schools Account (NYCSA) portal, which consolidates several important parent-facing applications in one place. In addition to seeing information for MyStudent, such as grades, attendance, and transportation, families will also be able to access Parent University and the Bullying Reporting online form.

Parents can reset the passwords to their student’s DOE email accounts through the Manage Account page; please note the change in URL from to Families who currently have a NYCSA account will automatically have access to new features in the portal.

To support families in accessing the new NYCSA portal, you should ensure that your family access managers (i.e., school principals, parent coordinators, or other designees) create accounts for all students and backpack letters home using the FAM tool. Family access managers can use the Reports section in FAM to generate a list of student families without NYCSA accounts. Family access managers should print pre-populated Account Creation Code letters at the beginning of the school year and backpack them home with students. These letters can be batch-printed by official class or by class meeting time (for classes with more than one section). By default, the letters will batch print in the parent’s home language, if it is one of the DOE-supported languages. Generic translated letters will be available at the bottom of the NYC Schools Account website by September 13. Note that if you would like to provide FAM access to other designees, you may do so by assigning them the role of family access manager in myGalaxy.

For more information about creating NYCSA accounts, see the NYCSA wiki page on the Family Access Management (FAM) tool. For questions, suggestions, or support with the MyStudent application within NYCSA, email or call the Help Desk (212-374-6646). Please note that you may not direct parents to contact the Help Desk number or inbox, as the Help Desk only supports DOE staff. Parents should be directed to the resources on the family-facing NYCSA page.

For questions about helping families reset passwords of student email addresses, refer to the Reset Student Password page on the Infohub.

UPDATE: Back2School CommUNITY Pledge

As schools resume in person, the Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes, in partnership with the DOE, City Commission on Human Rights and DYCD, is launching a campaign to promote respect, kindness and civility with a Back2School CommUNITY Pledge, a movement for NYC’s students, teachers, friends and families to send a clear message: hate has no home in NYC and our kids are going to lead a future of love, friendship and respect.

For the Back 2 School CommUnity Pledge Week, September 20-24, and the remaining part of the year, we ask you to join us in taking the Pledge to Celebrate Community.

I pledge to:

Stand up against hate and bullying
Speak out when I hear mean or hurtful “jokes”
Learn about and get to know diverse people
Respect and be kind to others
Do my part to support and celebrate our CommUNITY

For more information, including activities, professional development opportunities, and resources visit Back 2 School CommUNITY Pledge Week.

Take the pledge and spread the word!

UPDATE: Changes to Public Meeting Law

On September 2, 2021, Governor Hochul signed legislation extending virtual public meetings. Please see attached Memorandum.

The language of the Law substantially mirrors former Executive Order 202.1 issued in March 2020, which, in part, authorizes most public bodies “to meet and take such action authorized by law without permitting in public in-person access to meetings and authorize such meetings to be held remotely by conference call or similar service, provided that the public has the ability to view or listen to such proceeding and that such meetings are recorded and later transcribed.

Governor Hochul Signed Legislation Extends Virtual Public Meetings until January 15, 2022. The legislation does not mandate virtual meetings; it grants public bodies to hold virtual meetings. The new law applies to any meetings of the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP), Citywide and Community Education Councils (CECs), School Leadership Teams (SLTs), and Joint Public Hearings. It does not apply to PA/PTA, DLT, Presidents’ Council or CPAC meetings.

You can find this information and more on the Governor's website.

UPDATE: New Agreements for 2020-2021 School Year

The DOE and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) have reached an agreement regarding pivoting to remote instruction in the event of an emergency closure. We are working on creating a corresponding easy-to-read document, but in the meanwhile, here is a quick summary:

In the event of an emergency school or classroom closure, whether due to positive COVID-19 tests or snowstorms, classes will shift to remote learning for a period of time. In most such cases, teachers and other school personnel will conduct on-line lessons in real time (synchronous instruction).

If only a subset of students in a classroom is quarantined, those students will receive access to remote lessons that teachers and other school personnel have videotaped in advance (asynchronous instruction). However, those students will also be able to interact live with teachers during specified office hours.

In addition, on Election Day — Tuesday, November 2 — school buildings will be closed but students will receive remote asynchronous assignments.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be conducted remotely; teachers will still have dedicated parent engagement time weekly.

UPDATE: Enhancing Communication Among Parents

In the most recent update to NYCSA, parents will be able to opt-in to sharing their contact information with their local parent leaders. Please see below for the new “Stay Connected” feature of NYCSA.

UPDATE: Storm Recovery Updates and Post-Storm Resources
NYC Emergency Management

The City of New York has developed a list of resources for those who were affected by this historic storm. Please visit

New Yorkers are encouraged to report damage to their property by calling 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115) or by accessing the Damage Assessment Tool online. The Damage Assessment Tool allows the City to immediately collect damage information from New Yorkers to assess the impact upon affected areas. (Note: Reporting damage with this form is for tracking purposes only. You will not be provided a confirmation number.)

Service Centers Open Citywide

The City is opening service centers to provide resources to New Yorkers affected by this emergency. The following locations will be open Friday, September 3, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.:

Bronx – 890 Garrison Avenue, 1st floor (Job Center Queuing or CSIC Waiting Area)

Brooklyn – 95 Evergreen Avenue, 2nd floor (Job Center CMU Waiting Area)

Queens – 32-20 Northern Boulevard, 2nd floor (SNAP Waiting Area)

Manhattan – 109 East 16th Street, 1st floor (former CBIC Waiting Area)

Staten Island – 201 Bay Street, 2nd floor (SNAP Waiting Area)

Department of Environmental Protection

File a report with ponding/flooding report with DEP

Red Cross

Anyone who experienced flooding in their homes can call (877) 733-2767 which is the Red Cross hotline to register and request assistance; which would be in the form of a flood kit (if totally displaced, residents should indicate that to the operator).

DOE Health and Safety Measures

The DOE Homecoming Health and Safety Guide for families includes the latest health and safety precautions that will be in place when schools open for school year 2021-22 to provide a safe and healthy in-person learning experience for all students. Please share the Homecoming Guide with families in your school community as soon as possible - translations are available on the website.

All the latest updates and information on School Year 2021-22 can be found at, and health & safety information is available at Here’s a summary of some of the pertinent information from the guide:

Effective, Safe Vaccinations for All Eligible Community Members

Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic and has proven to significantly reduce the health effects of COVID-19 and reduce the transmissibility of the disease. Due to the incredible safety vaccination provides, all DOE staff and contractors in DOE buildings are required to have their first dose by September 27th and upload proof of vaccination to the DOE Vaccination portal. Every parent can be assured that the educators and school staff who work with their child every day will be vaccinated, providing yet another layer of protection and safety. During the first week of school, there will be an open vaccination site at every middle and high school.

At this time, students 12 years of age and older are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine, and approximately 60 percent of young people ages 12 – 17 have already done so. All eligible young people are encouraged to get this life saving vaccine as soon as possible.

Health & Temperature Screenings

Daily health screenings are required for admittance to DOE buildings and must be completed at home prior to the school day. Additionally, as part of the screening, student temperatures must be taken at home. Any family that needs a thermometer can request one from their school.

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

Universal Face Covering Usage

As announced in May, protective face coverings will be required for all people inside and outside of DOE buildings, including all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings are a simple, effective way to keep everyone in the school community safe. Masks can be removed during meals and for designated breaks throughout the day, during which physical distancing will be maximized. Students who are not medically able to tolerate masks will be provided with alternative accommodations and staff will receive additional protective equipment.
Physical Distancing in Schools

Following CDC and NYSED guidance, schools will provide three feet of physical distancing, where possible. Physical distancing is one part of a multi-layered strategy, and additional safety is provided by vaccinations, mask usage, improved ventilation, a focus on hygiene, testing, and surveillance by the Situation Room. Elementary schools will utilize cohorts of students wherever possible, or have teachers move between classes to minimize the movements of students.

During meal service, schools are highly encouraged to utilize outdoor spaces and additional space inside the school to provide three feet of physical distancing. The Office of Food & Nutrition Services is supporting principals in serving meals at multiple locations in school buildings and serving multiple meal periods.

The vast majority of classrooms are able to implement three feet of physical distancing. In both meal spaces and instructional spaces, if physical distancing is not possible, then additional mitigation strategies will be put into place such as the addition of more HEPA purifiers or outfitting windows with exhaust fans.

Both the CDC and NYSED emphasize that physical distancing recommendations should not prevent students from fully returning to school this year.

Improved Ventilation

The ability to bring fresh air into a room, circulate, and exhaust it is a critical part of preventing the spread of COVID-19. Every DOE room in use by students and staff for extended periods of time will have fully operational ventilation through either natural, mechanical, or a combination of means. Additionally, as an added precaution, every room has two air purifiers that meet and exceed HEPA standards and cafeterias in over-utilized schools will be provided with large units for added protection and window-based exhaust fans to provide additional air circulation.

The ventilation status of every room in a DOE building can be found by searching for the school at and going to the “Building Ventilation Information” section of the page.

Enhanced Cleaning, Facilities Maintenance, & PPE Availability

DOE custodial engineers and facilities staff have over a year and a half of experience keeping our buildings safe and clean during the COVID-19 pandemic. They will continue using enhanced cleaning techniques, including the use of electrostatic sprayers, and all buildings will continue to have a full 30 days of PPE available at all times.

Ongoing Surveillance and Diagnostic Testing with Oversight by the Situation Room

Regular COVID-19 testing provides school communities and public health experts with valuable information. This year, every school, first through twelfth grade, will have ten percent of their unvaccinated school population tested twice a month for ongoing random surveillance. Surveillance testing is aimed at determining the prevalence of COVID-19 in our schools and provides ongoing information to public health experts.

The Situation Room will continue to be the central resource for principals to report positive cases in their school communities, performing contact tracing, and providing health and safety guidance to school communities in an efficient and timely manner.

Closure & Quarantine Policies in the Event of a Positive COVID-19 Case

New York City public schools successfully opened schools during the 2020-21 school year, while keeping COVID-19 rates in schools far lower than the citywide average. This was achieved through a multi-layered prevention strategy.

The closure and quarantine policies that kept schools safe during Summer Rising will continue in the 2021-22 school year. When a positive COVID-19 case is confirmed in a classroom, unvaccinated close contacts will quarantine for ten calendar days. Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to quarantine even if they are a close contact unless they are symptomatic, per CDC guidance. Out of an abundance of caution vaccinated close contacts are encouraged to take a COVID-19 test three to five days after potential exposure.

High school and middle school students who are unvaccinated may test back into their classrooms out of quarantine. They will test on the fifth day of quarantine to re-enter class after the seventh day, with proof of a negative test, submitted to the DOE vaccination portal.

The Situation Room works closely with a team of experts from DOHMH to investigate every case that is reported. After a thorough investigation, if there is evidence of widespread transmission within the school, the Situation Room and the New York City Department of Health will make a determination to close the school for ten days. This is a continuation of a policy that kept over 800 school buildings safe during Summer Rising.

When in-person learning is disrupted, it will continue remotely for students who are quarantining. Elementary school students will continue to receive live remote instruction while they quarantine. Middle and high school students will have access to remote learning while quarantining.

Medically Necessary Instruction

Providing a high-quality learning environment for medically fragile students has always been a focus of the DOE. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pre-existing home instruction program is being expanded and will be available to more students that meet the criteria.

The Medically Necessary Instruction program provides interim educational services for school-aged children (from 3K to grade 12) in all five boroughs who are unable to attend school due to medical or psychiatric reasons. It can include individual in-person instruction by a certified teacher, or individual and small group instruction by certified teachers through digital platforms.

Taking COVID-19 into consideration, DOHMH has determined that students who actively have one of the conditions below would be approved for medically necessary instruction. Students with medical or psychiatric conditions that are not listed below may still apply; all applications will be reviewed by a medical expert.

Active Cancer
Chronic Renal Diseases
Sickle Cell
Gastro/Crohn’s Disease
Metabolic Disorders
Heart Conditions
Muscular Dystrophy
Adrenal Disorder
Cystic Fibrosis
Liver Disease
Congenital Lung Disease
Congenital Heart Condition
Cerebral Ataxia
Multiple Sclerosis

Any family with a student who is immunocompromised due to a medical condition or treatment for a medical condition may apply. Applications from families with any condition not listed will undergo review to determine eligibility.

Outdoor Learning Continues

Using the City’s outdoor spaces in new and innovative ways to provide additional instructional, extracurricular, and dining space was an unexpected silver lining of the pandemic. Last year, 840 schools took advantage of the Outdoor Learning Initiative. Schools will continue utilizing school yards, street space, and parks to provide additional space for learning. The Outdoor Learning initiative centers equity and schools in areas hardest-hit by COVID-19 receive priority for the program.

REMINDER: Attendance

With all of New York City’s students returning for in-person learning this fall, we want to welcome every student in school every day. Attendance matters. Research shows that students who attend regularly achieve greater success in school and in life. Please make every effort to have your student attend school, so long as they are feeling well.

Schools must take attendance to show whether a student is in school or not; it’s the law. If your child is absent, the school will follow up with you that day by making a positive phone call, text or email home. This call home helps the school support you and your child with removing the barriers to regular attendance. Please make sure that your school has the right information to contact you.

Your school will publish an Every Student Every Day attendance policy on their website or will share it through other communication pathways. The policy will explain what qualifies as an excused or unexcused absence, and will describe lateness, leaving early and make up policies. It will also explain how the school will take attendance on days a student must quarantine and learn from home or on snow days.

For help or questions, contact your school’s principal or Parent Coordinator.

COVID-19 Vaccination Reminders
UPDATE: #Vax to School - Vaccinations Required for Students and Staff Participating in Public School Athletic League (PSAL) Sports

The COVID-19 vaccination will be required for the ~20,000 students and staff participating in high-risk Public School Athletic League (PSAL) sports this year. This is in alignment with recent New York State and CDC guidance, which stated that high-risk sports and extracurricular activities should be virtual or canceled in areas of high community transmission unless all participants are fully vaccinated.

High-risk sports include the fall sports of football and volleyball, winter sports of basketball and wrestling, and spring sports of lacrosse, stunt, and rugby. In addition, vaccination will be required for bowling, because while not high-risk, it takes place in spaces that require vaccination. Fully vaccinated participants can remove their masks while engaging in high-risk PSAL activities held outdoors.

Participants in fall high-risk sports are required to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the first day of competitive play, which varies by sport. The first day of competitive play for football is September 3rd. The first day of competitive play for volleyball is September 27th. Winter and spring PSAL participants have until the beginning of their seasons to be fully vaccinated.

Getting the vaccine is safe, effective, and free. Currently, approximately 57% of New York City 12-17-year-olds have at least one dose, and families can go to to find a convenient vaccination site. Additionally, mobile vaccination sites are visiting schools and PSAL conditioning sites across the city this fall.

DOE recently created a COVID-19 vaccination portal for all staff to log their vaccination status. We are now making that website available to families at The Vaccination Portal allows employees and families to upload proof of vaccination, which can be an image of a vaccination card, NYS Excelsior Pass, or other government records. Submitting this information will support New York City’s pandemic response and recovery efforts, and help ensure that the DOE schools and buildings remain safe places for all students and staff.

Check the DOE’s website here for Chancellor Meisha Porter’s letter to families.

UPDATE: Vaccination Proof for Indoor Activities - Key to NYC

Starting August 17, people 12 and older will be required to show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for emergency use by the FDA or WHO for:

Indoor dining
Includes restaurants, catering halls, event spaces, hotel banquet rooms, bars, nightclubs, cafeterias, grocery stores with indoor dining, coffee shops and fast food or quick service with indoor dining
Indoor fitness
Includes gyms, fitness centers, fitness classes, pools, indoor studios and dance studios
Indoor entertainment
Includes movie theaters, music and concert venues, museums and galleries, aquariums and zoos, professional sports arenas, indoor stadiums, convention centers, exhibition halls, performing arts theaters, bowling alleys, arcades, pool and billiard halls, recreational game centers, adult entertainment and indoor play areas

This new requirement — called the Key to NYC — includes bars, fitness gyms, movie and stage theatres, museums and other indoor venues. Staff at these locations are also required to be vaccinated.

The highly contagious delta variant is spreading quickly in NYC, and unvaccinated people are at the most risk for infection, hospitalization and death. Learn how you can get vaccinated for free today.

Proof of Vaccination

Proof of vaccination may include:

NYC COVID Safe App: Android | iOS

Excelsior Pass

CDC Vaccination Card (or photo)

NYC Vaccination Record

An official immunization record from outside NYC or the U.S

If you received the vaccine outside the U.S., you must have an official immunization record that includes:

First name and last name
Date of birth
Vaccine product name (only vaccines authorized by the WHO are acceptable)
Date(s) administered
Site where the vaccine was administered, or name of the person who administered it

Check New York City’s website for more information about Vaccinations for Indoor Activities, Vaccination Facts or COVID-19

UPDATE: Get Vaccinated Today!

Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are now available in New York City to help us end the COVID-19 pandemic. They are easily available to most New Yorkers and all vaccinations are free.

It has never been easier to get a COVID-19 vaccination in NYC. Children 12-17 years old are eligible for the vaccine. Those who are fully vaccinated can more safely gather with friends and enjoy other benefits of vaccination, so get your shot today.

Some schools have walk-in vaccination sites - dates and locations can be found on the DOE’s website.

Check out COVID-19 Vaccine Facts for more information.

Also, share the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Back to School Youth Vaccination Information videos in multiple languages here:

To find a vaccination site near you, including those that take appointments, use the City's Vaccine Finder (not accessible with Internet Explorer). Note, people who are 12 to 17 years old can only receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Learn more about which groups are eligible for vaccination covered by the State's latest guidance.

Individuals 12+ are able to book vaccine appointments at many locations throughout the city using the NYC Vaccine Finder or by calling 1-877-VAX-4NYC. Check back here for additional updates or text COVID to 692-692 to receive real-time updates on vaccine distribution.

Vaccinations at home

Walk-up vaccination sites

NYC mobile vaccine vans and buses

Need another reason to get a vaccine? New Yorkers can get $100, free tickets, memberships, or gifts for getting vaccinated against COVID-19. These giveaways will be available for a limited time. Check here for more information.

DOE UPDATE: Vaccine Fundraiser for PAs and PTAs

New York City wants to partner with Parent Associations and Parent Teacher Associations (PAs/PTAs) to encourage families to get vaccinated!

Participating PAs/PTAs can receive a $100 bonus for each vaccine eligible community member who receives the safe COVID vaccine at a City-run site or in-home.

Sign up!

Interested PAs/PTAs should sign up now, using this form.

Each PAs/PTAs can earn up to $20,000

Payments will be made after the conclusion of the program

Get the Referral Benefit

To receive the vaccine referral benefit, community members must request an appointment slot on the NYC Appointment Scheduler

When you register for an appointment on the Personal Information section, you will be asked "Were you referred for your vaccination by an organization as part of the NYC Vaccine Referral Bonus Program?" Indicate your PA/PTA in the box so that your PA/PTA will receive the $100 bonus.

Community members will not receive any direct payment under this program. The PA/PTA who referred them will receive $100 for every referral, up to $20,000.

The individual’s personal information is not shared with the organization.

This information is also on the DOE’s website here.

RESOURCE: Supports for Students and Families
Providing Social and Emotional Learning Support for Students

Students are much more likely to learn, feel safe, and rebound from tough situations when they feel connected to their teachers and their peers. This year, all schools will focus on strengthening connections and community. Building off what we all accomplished last year, the DOE will continue to ensure that all students, their families, and staff feel welcomed and supported.

Supporting students socially and emotionally improves not only their academic progress but prepares them to succeed in life. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our students faced stressful situations and some of them experienced trauma as well. For example, circumstances like poverty, homelessness, or fear of deportation can be traumatic if students do not have adequate resources and supports. Yet schools are and can continue to do so much to help students learn how to manage their stress and find refuge from their pain and anxiety.

This year, we are expanding our social emotional learning (SEL) practices citywide. We’ve hired over 500 social workers and 36 borough office-based social workers so that every student has access to more targeted supports when they need it, like group and individual counseling. As a result of these investments, every school will have a trained mental health care specialist. This person could be a school social worker, guidance counselor, or a school-based mental health specialist.

We have also updated our Bridge to School plan. Designed to be implemented during the first few weeks of this school year, the plan provides all schools with social-emotional learning lessons and activities that will help students build coping skills, process grief, and reorient themselves to daily instruction. The Bridge to School plan complements established initiatives that will be continuing this school year that are aimed at building students’ self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
Supports for Students in Temporary Housing

If your student is affected by homelessness (living in a shelter, or doubled up or in some other temporary housing situation due to economic hardship), the DOE is committed to providing additional supports and resources.

If you or your family are affected by homelessness, we want you to know that every school district has a dedicated Students in Temporary Housing (STH) Regional Manager who can respond to questions and concerns, and connect you to DOE and other city agency resources designed to provide no-cost benefits (including transportation to and from school, help with enrollment and school moves, even access to programs and special opportunities). STH Regional Managers work directly with over 300 school- and shelter-based staff, including social workers, who are specially trained to understand the unique needs and strengths of families affected by homelessness.

Finally, every school also has a dedicated School Based STH Liaison, who can ensure students and families affected by homelessness are connected to appropriate information, resources and benefits.

To get help at school, please reach out to your school’s guidance counselor, social worker, or principal for assistance.
P-EBT Resources

Every single NYC public school student is automatically eligible—regardless of income or immigration status—. No application or registration is required. P-EBT does not affect any other benefits or public charge status. Students in parochial or charter schools may be eligible if their school participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). For more information, please check out the links below.

P-EBT Guidance 21-22

P-EBT Guidance 21-22 (Spanish)

GetFoodNYC: Free Food Locations

Get a map of food resources across the city: Free food pantries, Grocery stores and farmer's markets locations grab & go meals at NYC Schools, available for all children or adults in need.

Learning Heroes

In partnership with the National PTA and Univision, Learning Heroes is excited to showcase the next round of Team Up for Success, which provides ongoing parent communications with free research-based tools and resources throughout the year.

Today we present an updated Parent-Teacher Planning Tool that helps parents form a two-way relationship with their child’s teacher and share progress! We've also created this video to assist parents and guardians with using the tool.

As a part of this series we previously debuted our “Dear Teacher” letter meant to introduce families to their child’s new teacher, and a new Parenting Minutes video from WNET, focused on building parent-teacher relationships.

Please consider helping amplify Team Up for Success by:

Sharing our Team Up for Success Toolkit with your networks

Adding a campaign blurb to your organization's newsletter and/or other email communications

#TeamUpForSuccess with Learning Heroes!

Free Family Engagement Curriculum – Ready4K – Fall Webinars

Ready4K is an evidence-based family engagement curriculum shown to increase student growth by two months. The curriculum empowers families by texting them simple, achievable ways to incorporate learning into everyday moments. Families can get messages in Arabic, Chinese, English, Spanish, or Vietnamese. We have also incorporated messages linking families to NYC resources like food and health services. Ready4K comes at no cost to your families or your program.

Register here for a Fall 2021 Ready4K Onboarding Session!

Sessions take place between Sep 1 – Oct 12, 2021

Parents & Students Needed for InsideSchools Focus Groups

The Education Trust–New York is partnering with InsideSchools to incorporate important data on three critical equity issues into InsideSchools’ NYC public school evaluation platform:

Access to advanced courses

FAFSA completion rates

Data that shows college enrollment and college completion rates.

It is important that parents and students have an opportunity to weigh in on the design of the tool. See more info on the flyer and below!

We are hoping that you can help recruit parents and students who represent the broad diversity of New York City for upcoming focus groups. Our goal is to engage approximately 70 parents and 20 students to participate in one of several 90-minute, Zoom-based focus groups during the weeks of September 20th and October 4th. Each participant will receive a $50 gift card for their time. If you work with parents or students that may be interested in participating, please share the attached flyer and focus group.

Warm Regards,

The FACE Team

UFT Wins Arbitration To Allow Members Who Wont Get Vaccinated To Keep Their Jobs...Maybe


Martin Scheinman wrote the decision on the vaccine issue. 

Read his decision

In a lawsuit filed for teachers who are not vaccinated, the Judge granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the NYC Department of Education. A hearing on this issue will be held on September 22, 2021:

NYC court temporarily blocks City Hall’s DOE vaccine mandate

Betsy Combier
Editor, NYC Rubber Room Reporter
Editor, New York Court Corruption
Editor, National Public Voice
Editor, NYC Public Voice
Editor, Inside 3020-a Teacher Trials

UFT Press Release:

For Immediate Release – September 10, 2021




An independent arbitrator has ruled that New York City teachers with certain documented medical conditions must be offered non-classroom assignments. Other staffers reluctant to take the vaccine must be offered either an unpaid leave that maintains their health coverage, or a severance package.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew said, “As a group, teachers have overwhelmingly supported the vaccine, but we have members with medical conditions or other reasons for declining vaccination. After our demand for independent arbitration, the city backed off its initial position that all unvaccinated personnel be removed from payroll, and will offer out-of-classroom work for those with certified medical or other conditions.”

“The city has also agreed – based on the arbitrator’s determination – to create both a leave process and a severance agreement for other teachers who feel that they cannot comply with the vaccination mandate.”

The teacher vaccine mandate is scheduled to go into effect on September 27th, 2021. Classes begin Monday, September 13.

The UFT estimates that more than 80 percent of teachers have already been vaccinated, either through the union’s own vaccination program or through other city and state initiatives.

Medical exemptions

Under the terms of the arbitrator’s ruling, teachers and other staff with certain medical conditions that prevent them from being vaccinated, either temporarily or permanently, including certain cancer treatments, must be offered educational and administrative work in non-classroom buildings.

In cases where teachers seek exemptions for medical conditions not on the list, independent arbitrators will decide if the exemption is appropriate.

Teachers who have been vaccinated but whose immune systems are suppressed must also be offered office or remote assignments as long as their medical conditions last.

Religious exemptions

Exemption requests shall be considered for recognized and established religious organizations and not where the objection is personal, political, or philosophical in nature. Applications for religious exemptions must be documented in writing by clergy or a religious official. Appeals of religious exemption denials will be heard by the same independent arbitrators ruling on medical exemption appeals.

Unpaid leaves

Teachers who are not vaccinated but for whom medical exemptions are unavailable must be offered unpaid leaves that will last until next September. While their salaries will be withheld, the city will continue their medical insurance coverage.

Such teachers will be returned to their jobs and the payroll if and when they decide to be vaccinated. If they have not been vaccinated by the end of that leave, the system will assume they have resigned.


Staff who decline to accept an unpaid leave must be offered a severance package that would include payment for unused sick days, along with health insurance until the end of the school year. They would also be entitled to apply to return to city schools in the future.

Unvaccinated teachers who refuse all options will be subject to the disciplinary process.

Arbitration and the legal process

Arbitration is a process outside of the court system that is used to resolve differences between parties, often over contract interpretation -- in this case a dispute between the UFT and the city over the impact of the Health Department’s vaccine mandate on the work of teachers and other staff members.

The arbitration finding does not resolve the underlying issue of whether the city has the legal authority to issue such a mandate for teachers and other city workers. The question of the city’s legal authority can only be resolved by the courts. The Municipal Labor Committee, of which the UFT is a member, has brought a suit in Manhattan Supreme Court to resolve that issue.

The arbitration was conducted by Martin F. Scheinman, of Scheinman Arbitration and Mediation Services. 


De Blasio loses to UFT, must allow teachers exemptions to vaccinations
Carl Campanile and Sam Raskin, NY POST, Sept 10, 2021

In a blow to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate for all teachers without exception, an arbitrator has ruled the city needs to provide accommodations to staff with medical conditions or religious beliefs that preclude them from getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

The decision — coming late Friday, just days before the start of the new school year — declares that public school teachers who refused to get inoculated against COVID-19 have to be offered unpaid leave or a severance package.

Under the ruling, authored by meditator Martin Scheinman, most teachers can stay on payroll while their application for a vaccine or medical exemption is being heard, or if they appeal a denial of their request.

Teachers who resign due to refusal to get jabbed won’t be immediately fired; they will be able to take leave without pay and will be entitled to health insurance through September 2022, the decision states.

Teachers who get vaccinated while on leave without pay and provide proof of a jab to the DOE before Nov. 30, “shall have a right of return to the same school as soon as is practicable,” the ruling reads. 

The decision also bars objections to the vaccine on political and philosophical grounds, and puts in place strict criteria on who is allowed to be exempt because of their religious beliefs or medical condition. 

“As a group, teachers have overwhelmingly supported the vaccine, but we have members with medical conditions or other reasons for declining vaccination,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said after the ruling.

“After our demand for independent arbitration, the city backed off its initial position that all unvaccinated personnel be removed from payroll, and will offer out-of-classroom work for those with certified medical or other conditions.

“The city has also agreed – based on the arbitrator’s determination – to create both a leave process and a severance agreement for other teachers who feel that they cannot comply with the vaccination mandate,” Mulgrew added.

De Blasio announced Aug. 23 that all DOE staffers need to receive at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 27. Students return to Big Apple public school classrooms for the start of the school year on Monday.

Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter said of the ruling, “Our vaccine mandate was put into place for the health and safety of our children, and the protection of our employees.”

“We’re pleased that the binding arbitration was issued before the first day of school and we will swiftly implement the terms,” she added in a statement Friday. “There will be over 700 vaccination sites in our schools across the City every day next week, and we encourage all DOE employees to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

The decision comes on the heels of the union vowing to arbitrate the specifics of the vaccine mandate along with other labor groups. While Mulgrew has acknowledged the vaccine mandate will be enacted, he lamented last week that talks with city officials had entered “a very bad place” over issues like medical concerns. 

“It’s clear that the two sides are very very far apart when it comes to this vaccine mandate,” Mulgrew told reporters on Sept. 2 following a Town Hall with members.

Last month, union leaders representing 350,000 city workers announced they were filing a legal action to stop de Blasio from enacting a vaccine mandate for Department of Education employees without their input. The labor leaders on Friday followed through on their pledge to file a lawsuit.

The unions claim in their suit that they “support vaccination and encourage all employees to vaccinate if they are able,” but claim the mayor’s rule is “poorly-conceived” and “coercive.” 

Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks