2021-2022 School Year
As we prepare for your child’s return, we would like to share information about the gold standard health and safety precautions that will be in place at New York City’s schools to support a safe and healthy in-person learning experience for all. Many of these measures were the ones that made our buildings among the safest places to be during the pandemic, and that helped us to end last school year with a 0.03% COVID-19 positivity rate. This guide also includes tips for families as you prepare your child for returning to school this fall.
We’re committed to continuing and enhancing our health and safety measures to ensure that we are doing all we can to create conditions in our buildings and classrooms that keep our students safe. Our efforts, including our vaccination mandate for all staff, are important measures that we are taking to keep our track record of low positivity rates and transmission in our schools.
Face Coverings and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
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. Forgot a mask? No problem— every school will have a supply on hand for children and adults. During lunchtime, masks may be removed so students can eat comfortably at a safe distance from one another. Masks may also be removed during designated “mask breaks”, during which students will maintain physical distance from each other. Students who are not medically able to tolerate masks will be provided with alternative accommodations. Hand sanitizer will also be available in every classroom.
Physical Distancing in Schools
Physical distancing is another important part of our multi-layered strategy to keep our school communities safe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms to reduce transmission risk. When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least 3 feet, such as when schools cannot fully re-open while maintaining these distances, it is especially important to layer multiple other prevention strategies, such as screening testing.” Additionally, wherever possible, elementary schools will keep groups of students consistently together or have teachers move between classes in order to minimize movement of students. It is important to note that the CDC emphasizes that schools should not exclude students from in-person learning to keep a minimum distance requirement. During meal service, schools will use outdoor spaces and additional spaces in school buildings where possible to support physical distancing. Meals may be served in multiple locations and during multiple time periods.
Good ventilation is essential to prevent COVID-19. Over the past year and a half, ventilation in every single classroom across the city has been inspected, updated, and repaired as needed. 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. As an added precaution, every classroom across New York City has been provided with two air purifiers. Cafeterias in bigger schools will be provided with large air purifier units for added protection and window-based exhaust fans to provide additional air circulation, and we continue to increase ventilation in classrooms and schools. These measures meet or exceed guidance from the CDC
All classrooms and common areas, such as auditoriums and gyms will have hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes available. High-touch” areas such as doorknobs and water fountains will be cleaned multiple times throughout the day, and each classroom will be deep cleaned and disinfected daily using electrostatic technology.
COVID-19 Testing in Schools
Regular COVID-19 testing provides school communities and public health experts with valuable information. Continuing the successful safety practices of last year, there will be regular testing for COVID-19 in our schools. Every school will have ten percent of unvaccinated individuals who have submitted consent for testing in their school population tested biweekly. This way, if there is a positive case, action can be taken right away to protect the school community. Students and staff who are fully vaccinated are not required to be tested.
Positive Cases of COVID-19 in Schools
We know how important it is to keep our schools and classrooms open for learning, and we have done everything we can to make sure our classrooms are equipped to be safe learning environments, including mandating that all staff are vaccinated and ensuring increased ventilation in all school buildings and classrooms. These measures will mean fewer disruptions in your child’s education. There may be times when your child is asked to quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19. Here are the quarantine protocols for students in:
Elementary Schools: In the event there is a positive case in a classroom, all students in the class will be instructed to quarantine for 10 calendar days. Students will continue to receive instruction while they quarantine.
PARENTS / CAREGIVERS: You must be logged into Google with your child's ps30x.org account. This page will offer tips and trick to assist parents in helping their children to navigate remote learning.