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I hope you and your children are well and enjoying some time off this summer. September will be here before we know it, and I am writing to you today to keep you updated on the 2020–21 school year and make sure you know how to be part of the conversation. Throughout this summer, as we diligently work to clarify operations for the fall, I promise to be transparent about what we know—and what we don’t yet know.
Your Learning Options
First things first: New York City students will be learning five days a week, whether in person or at home. As previously announced, schools are planning for blended learning, in which students will be taught in school buildings for part of the week, and will continue learning remotely from home on the other days of the week. Any family can also choose all-remote learning, for any reason. We know that the majority of families want as much in-person instruction as is safely possible, and we will work to maximize it at every turn, consistent with health and safety requirements. However, if you intend to choose all-remote learning for your child and have not yet notified us, please let us know by August 7 so schools can plan accordingly. You can fill out a web form at schools.nyc.gov/returntoschool2020 or call 311.
To enable you to make a more informed choice, we have prepared some important comparisons about what you can expect from each mode of learning, which you can find at the end of this letter. Families who choose all-remote instruction will be able to opt back in to blended learning on a quarterly basis throughout the school year, beginning in November.
No matter whether you are at school in-person or you are learning remotely, you and your child are still enrolled in and part of your school community. Your child’s schedule and learning experience will be fully managed by your school. The vast majority of students who participate in fully remote learning will be taught by teachers from their school. While there may be some limited exceptions on a school-by-school basis, you should expect your child to be assigned teachers from their school when they receive their full schedule before the school year begins.
As our plans continue to come together, we must be nimble. We will make adjustments as public health conditions continue to evolve.
How to Learn More
Every week, we will be posting more information about school operations to schools.nyc.gov/returntoschool2020. Please bookmark this page and visit it frequently. On this page, you will find information on Physical Education, Arts Education, and more. We are asking for your patience and flexibility throughout this process as we work through a great deal of planning in collaboration with our teachers, principals, and school-based staff.
Your voice and feedback are essential as our work continues. We are creating many opportunities for you to discuss the year ahead with the DOE, and we hope you will get involved. We hosted our first citywide information session on July 16, and received many great suggestions from families across the City. Please join us for one of the upcoming info sessions Tuesday, July 28; Wednesday, August 12; and Thursday, August 27. You can visit schools.nyc.gov/returntoschool2020 to register and submit a question.
In addition, each school will host a parent meeting to discuss the proposed school schedule and to review planning for the year ahead, and we will be holding community and advocate round-table meetings, briefings with Community Education Council leaders and elected officials, and more.
While the world around us continues to change, our commitment to the health and safety of our students, teachers, staff, and families remains steadfast, and so does our focus on equity and excellence. We will deliver what your child needs to succeed academically, knowing the traumatic impact this crisis has had on New Yorkers of all ages. We will ensure your child feels welcome and supported in their school community, no matter what.
Thank you for continuing to share your comments and questions. I have said it before, but it’s no less true now: You are our most important partners and I am grateful for you today and every day. Please stay safe and healthy.
Richard A. Carranza
New York City Department of Education