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It’s incredibly exciting to see New York City’s classrooms filled with students and teachers again.

Since NYC schools opened earlier this month for in-person learning on September 13, we’ve seen the joy on our students’ faces as they reunited with their friends and teachers for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has been an incredibly special time for our families, students, and staff members, and we are doing all we can to help keep everyone in our schools safe and healthy this school year.

We would like to announce two important adjustments to our COVID-19 health and safety protocols in City schools:

Increased COVID-19 Testing

Starting Monday, September 27, the DOE will increase its rate of random COVID-19 testing in all NYC elementary, middle, and high schools for students in grades 1–12. Currently, our schools’ random testing occurs on a biweekly basis; as of 9/27, random testing will take place every week at all NYC public schools.

Note that we can only test students whose parents have provided an updated testing consent form to their school. We encourage all families to provide this consent on behalf of their children—if you have not already done so, please submit a testing consent form for the 2021–22 school year through your NYC Schools Account or download our online form and submit a completed printout directly to your child’s school.

Updated Quarantine Policy

Also starting on Monday, September 27, in accordance with the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we will no longer close an entire classroom when there is a positive case in the classroom.

Unvaccinated students who are masked and at least three feet distanced from a student who tests positive are not considered close contacts under CDC guidelines and will not have to quarantine. This new policy applies to all students in any grade.


For more information about our schools’ health and safety protocols this year, check out our “What Will NYC Schools Be Like in 2021–22” post on The Morning Bell as well as our Safe and Healthy Learning for All page on our website. And don’t forget to subscribe to The Morning Bell as well as our official Twitter and Facebook pages for the latest updates about City schools.

Let’s all do our part to help keep our schools safe all year long. Remember: vaccination is the most important step that we can take to protect our families and our communities against COVID-19—this is why we have mandated that all DOE school staff members get at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine by September 27. To help protect your children and school communities, schedule a vaccination appointment for yourself and any eligible children aged 12 or older today!

On behalf of the DOE, we wish everyone a successful first month of the new school year!

Official blog for the NYC Department of Education, home of a million students across 1,800+ schools

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