June 26, 2020
Today is the last day of the most challenging, most intense school year many of us have ever experienced. I am humbled by your efforts and so proud of your children—our brilliant students.
I know that last September feels like it was years ago, and that time in general seems to exist as “before COVID” and “after COVID.” It might be hard to remember, but before the pandemic upended our lives, we opened more pre-K Dual Language programs across the city, saw a record number of our students enrolling in college, and learned just how much our Community Schools have been changing students’ lives for the better—to name just a few of our accomplishments. All that still matters because it has real-life, positive impacts for our children.
And then, all of a sudden, it was Monday, March 16, and the coronavirus forced us to reinvent the nation’s largest school system, closing all school buildings and transitioning our 1.1 million students to remote learning. To me, the “after COVID” time is as stunningly impressive as what came before. I know this because over the past three months I have seen your children complete science experiments in your kitchens, debate the United States Constitution in Spanish from your living rooms, and join band practice and master Shakespeare on Zoom.
Your children accomplished these amazing feats all while the coronavirus was affecting you, your families, and your communities. Sadly, we lost immediate family members, and 79 Department of Education employees, to COVID-19. We will never be the same without the loved ones, friends, and colleagues who gave our lives and work meaning. We will never, ever forget a single one of them. They live on in our hearts, in our memories, and in our children.
I’ve always said that parents and families are our most important partners, but this year that was truer than ever, as you became your child’s teacher, coach, and constant presence in an uncertain world. Your lives were upended in support of a totally unconventional schedule for your children. I know how much you sacrificed for them, how concerned you are about their futures, and how deep your love for them runs. I can’t thank you enough for the effort you have made to support your child’s learning at home.
In recent weeks, you’ve kept the learning going as our city and nation have been enraged and have mourned the senseless loss of more Black lives at the hands of those whose duty it is to serve and protect. It has been a gutwrenching time for all of us. Systemic racism endangers people of color in this country, period; and true change for New Yorkers of color must begin in our schools. I pledge that we will take what we have learned this year and double down on addressing systemic inequalities in our system that these crises have further exposed. This includes continuing to build a strong, inclusive, just, and anti-racist educational system. I pledge that we will keep cultivating and celebrating the achievements and accomplishments of your children.
I pledge to continue to be there for you and your children, not being deterred for a moment—no matter what challenges come our way. Over the next several months, we will operate Summer School, Meal Hubs, Regional Enrichment Centers, and Emergency Child Care Centers to actively serve our families. I pledge to deliver the education your children demand and deserve—an education that enables them to grow into well-educated, responsible, compassionate adults who are equipped to change the world.
I know you are rightfully anxious to know what that education will look like for your child this fall. We are working day in and day out to develop robust plans for the more than one million children who are in our seats. You will receive information in the coming weeks—including the date for the first day of school—once we receive the necessary guidance from the State and federal government that paves the way for us to finalize our plan. We also need your guidance, too! Please tell us what you want fall 2020 to look like by filling out our Return to School survey at schools.nyc.gov/returntoschool2020 by Tuesday, June 30. This will help us meet your needs as we come back to school.
Given all we have been through together, we cannot end the school year without celebrating our students’ remarkable accomplishments. I invite you to join me; Mayor de Blasio; former NYC public school student and teacher, Lin-Manuel Miranda; and other celebrities, elected officials, and special guests on June 30 as we honor the Class of 2020 at a citywide graduation ceremony. You can watch it beginning at 7 p.m. on PIX 11 and at nycclassof2020.com. Please join us!
And one more exciting development for our students: we are thrilled to make more e-books and audiobooks for all ages available for free this summer to all DOE families, and it’s easier than ever to access them. Just use your student’s DOE login; no special signup necessary. Summer reading is so important to keep learning going and to let imaginations run free, so please visit schools.nyc.gov/summerreading to find these amazing resources. If you received a DOE-issued iPad, it will automatically have the Sora app installed to access these texts—but you don’t need a DOE-issued device to use Sora. You can download the app on any device, use your student’s DOE login, and start reading.
I have often said that we have the best students, staff, and families anywhere. This year, you have proved that true beyond any shadow of a doubt. You are helping us build a better world. We are grateful for you today and every day. Have a wonderful summer.
We can’t wait to see you in September.
Richard A. Carranza
New York City Department of Education
Summer reading is so important to keep learning going and to let imaginations run free! We are thrilled to make more e-books and audiobooks for all ages available for free this summer to all DOE families, and it’s easier than ever to access them. Please read on for more information, and visit schools.nyc.gov/summerreading for additional details to be posted on Monday, June 29.
Reading with Sora!
The e-book reader Sora has a diverse set of hundreds of resources available for grades 3K-12 in a multiple languages to help students see themselves and fellow students in the books they are reading. You can download an app to your device or access them via a web browser. All you have to do is log in with your student’s DOE ID; no additional sign up is necessary. Please visit discoversora.com/nyc to get started.
Need help finding your student’s DOE login? Click here. If you received an iPad from DOE, it will have the Sora app automatically installed by July 1!
You may also visit galepages.com/nycdoe11 to access additional e-book titles and databases provided by the New York City School Library System. To access e-books from any location and databases from outside of New York State, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for the username and password.
Please note that while some of these resources might only be available in English, we will continue to strive to make more resources available in home languages.
Take Advantage of Public Library Resources, Too!
New York City public library systems are also providing digital resources and free access to the tutoring platform Brainfuse through internet-enabled devices, including all DOE-issued iPads.
Wishing you a summer full of reading!
Chief Academic Officer
June 3, 2020
It is hard to recall another time as gut-wrenching and heartbreaking as these recent days have been. George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police officers last week was horrifying. I am sickened. But, like many of you, I am not surprised. We have seen this abominable disregard for Black lives so many times before, including multiple times in recent weeks. It is truly agonizing to witness; it is nothing short of another pandemic presenting itself on the streets of America.
The New York City Department of Education condemns police brutality and this brutal loss of life. My heart breaks to know that yet another Black family has lost a son, a father, a brother. I stand in solidarity with Black New Yorkers and Americans, and with everyone who is mourning yet another senseless loss. Pain ripples and resonates across communities all over the City. I am with all of you as we individually and collectively reckon with this tragic injustice. The demonstrations happening in the five boroughs and in nearly 140 cities across the country are a reflection of this anguish, and the desire for a better world.
It is incredibly difficult to be a parent or caregiver right now: grappling with emotions, seeking actions that both feel of service and of the magnitude needed in this moment, and thinking through ways to begin or deepen conversations with children and families about recent horrific incidents and the systemic racism from which they spring—all at the same time. The pain and struggle are very real.
For communities of color, nothing about this pain is new. It’s been in the bodies, minds, and hearts of millions of New Yorkers and Americans for generations—because racist violence has been perpetrated for that long.
Racism also causes new harm in other ways, every day, because it is systemic—woven deeply into the fabric of our institutions, our economy, and the systems that make up our shared community. That is true in New York City, as progressive and forward-thinking as we are, including in our public school system.
At the DOE we have said, and we will continue to say: no more.
We must answer the call to be actively anti-racist and work every day to undo these systems of injustice. We will continue in our resolve to advance equity now. We will honor the dignity and humanity of every student, parent, educator, employee and member of our community every day.
No matter the form teaching and learning takes—in brick-and-mortar classrooms or on a digital device—the goal remains the same: providing an excellent education to every single student. In doing so, we must also continually find ways to dismantle institutional racism and reverse its effects.
That work is underway. It includes implementing restorative practices, training all educators and employees on implicit bias, providing mental health supports to school communities, and more. This work creates a lifelong effect in children and has the potential to transform our society in ways that make that the world safer, more just, and better for everyone.
When, for example, children learn from books featuring protagonists and lessons featuring stories from people of different races, abilities, genders, ethnicities, languages, and more, they learn also to value difference and diversity. When students experiencing anger or resentment are taught healthy ways to communicate, it’s more likely they won’t react out of unfounded fear.
We will not relent in the work to intensify equity until, student by student and school by school, change comes. We all need this, because racism doesn’t just harm Black, Brown, or Asian families—it harms us all.
Everyone has a role to play. In addition to continuing our work centrally, we are supporting educators with resources to teach episodes from our history and our present, episodes where these same shudders of injustice and outrage, peaceful protest, and also violence and destruction have ripped through our city and society.
At the same time, many of you have already been doing this work at home or are otherwise putting personal resources into these efforts—your time, your energy, your heart, or your voice. We see you, and we are grateful for your powerful commitment. Children see and feel the world around them, and now is an important time to guide them in understanding and engaging with their experiences and those of their friends, families, and fellow New Yorkers.
Below you will find resources to help start, continue, or deepen conversations with children about racism and injustice. We are also sharing resources to help with stress, exhaustion, and self-care. As parents and caregivers, caring for yourself is essential in order to be able to care for others. We will continue to update resources as we move ahead, and you can find them at schools.nyc.gov/togetherforjustice
I have been reminded of this quote by the writer James Baldwin that resonates so powerfully in this moment: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” These are difficult days of reckoning, but we have the opportunity—and a calling—to go farther in facing injustice.
You are our most important partners in the education of the children of New York City and the building of a better world. We are grateful for you today and every day.
Richard A. Carranza
New York City Department of Education
May 30, 2020
Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility in response to this ever-evolving crisis. We are writing today to share some important updates and reminders about the end of year school calendar.
We have two days coming up in June that were originally scheduled as times when students would not be in attendance. However, with the ongoing pandemic, students will be expected to participate in remote learning on both of these days:
Thursday, June 4 was originally scheduled as a non-attendance day for all students in observance of Brooklyn / Queens Day (also known as Anniversary Day).
Tuesday, June 9 was originally scheduled as a non-attendance day for students in schools serving grades K-8, as well as District 75 schools and programs.
On June 4, all students are expected to complete work independently as staff will be engaged in professional development. Teachers are not expected to engage students on June 4; instead, schools will set students up in advance with independent work for the day.
On June 9, students who attend a school serving grades K-8, or who attend any District 75 school, are expected to complete work independently as staff will be engaged in reorganization work. Teachers in these schools are not expected to engage students on June 9; instead, schools will set students up in advance with independent work for the day.
If you have questions or concerns regarding the school schedule for your student, please contact your school for additional information.
As a reminder, June 26 is the last day of school and a half day for all students. We will issue additional guidance to families about the end of the 2019-20 school year in the coming weeks.
Thank you again for your partnership as we continually navigate unfamiliar terrain. I often say that we have the best students, staff, and families in the world. You and your children continue to prove that, every day. Together, we will continue to weather this storm.
Richard A. Carranza
ChancellorNew York City Department of Education
May 20, 2020
Earlier this week, we announced our plans for summer learning, to ensure that our students can continue to engage and receive the academic supports they need to be ready for returning to school in the fall. We are writing to you today with an update on the summer calendar, informed by feedback from DOE communities.
For elementary and middle school students who are required or recommended to attend summer school, the program will start one week earlier and will run from Monday, July 6 – Tuesday, August 11. There is no change to the duration or structure of the program.
For high school students who are attending summer school, courses will also start one week earlier and will run from Monday, July 6 – Friday, August 14. There is no change to the duration or structure of this program either.
For students with 12-month Individualized Education Plan (IEPs) services, there will be no change to the calendar. Our teachers start on Wednesday, July 1 and students are expected to participate from Thursday, July 2–Thursday, August 13.
These changes will help accelerate learning for all students. Beginning summer school earlier—closer to the end of the regular school year—allows for continuous learning for students. Concluding programs earlier also allows more time for continuous rest for your family in the month of August.
We appreciate your ongoing patience and flexibility as we adapt to this crisis in real time. Nothing is more important than the health, safety, and continued academic success of your child: we thank you for your partnership in this important endeavor now more than ever.
Richard A. Carranza
New York City Department of Education
May 18, 2020
Following up on our letter to you last week about the new health condition appearing in children in New York City and elsewhere, linked below is a Fact Sheet from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC Health) that provides additional information.
Per NYC Health, this condition has been renamed Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)— formerly Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS). The condition is rare and it is potentially life-threatening, so it is important that you know its signs and symptoms.
NYC Health’s Fact Sheet conveys new information about the syndrome, its symptoms, when to seek medical help, treatments, and preventative steps. Because MIS-C is associated with COVID-19, acting to keep your child from being exposed to COVID-19 continues to be essential.
As a reminder, families should help their children understand the importance of the following measures and ensure their children follow them:
The health and safety of our communities remains our top priority, and we will continue to take all appropriate measures to help keep our students, families, and staff members safe. Please visit nyc.gov/health at any time for the latest information on MIS-C, and do not hesitate to contact 311 with any questions.
Richard A. Carranza
Chancellor New York City Department of Education
Fact Sheet: Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)
What is multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children?
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a new health condition associated with COVID-19 that is appearing in children in New York City (NYC) and elsewhere. The syndrome was previously called pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome or PMIS.
MIS-C is like other serious inflammatory conditions such as Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. Children with MIS-C can have problems with their heart and other organs and need to receive medical care in a hospital.
MIS-C is a rare condition. However, because children with this syndrome may become seriously ill, it is important that parents know the signs and symptoms their children may have, so they can get help right away.
What are the signs and symptoms of MIS-C?
Most children have fever (temperature of 100.4 degrees F or 38.0 degrees C or greater) lasting several days, along with other symptoms.
Other common symptoms include:
When should I call my child’s doctor or get emergency care?
Call your child’s doctor immediately if your child has a persistent fever plus any of the above symptoms. The doctor will ask about the symptoms your child has and use that information to recommend next steps. If your child is severely ill, go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 immediately.
Is MIS-C contagious?
MIS-C is not contagious, but it is possible that your child has COVID-19 or another infection that may be contagious. This is why hospitals will take infection control measures when treating your child.
Is there a treatment for MIS-C?
Currently, children with MIS-C are being treated with different therapies, including medications targeted at the body’s immune system and inflammatory response. Children may receive other medications to protect their heart, kidneys and other organs. How can I prevent my child from getting MIS-C? You should take steps to prevent your child from being exposed to COVID-19. Face coverings, hand hygiene and physical distancing are the best ways to prevent COVID-19. Children with underlying medical conditions can be at higher risk for poor outcomes of COVID-19, making prevention measures even more important.
The NYC Health Department may change recommendations as the situation evolves. 5.18.20