March 7 Face Covering Update
We are pleased to announce that, face coverings will be optional on school grounds for students in kindergarten through grade 12 beginning Monday, March 7.
To maintain the safety of our staff and students, we will continue to practice strict COVID-19 protocols, including increased ventilation, a daily health screening, and test kit distribution. Mask-wearing will become optional indoors, outside, and on school buses. Anyone who chooses to wear a mask may continue to do so, and your child may request a mask from their school if they need one.
The indoor mask mandate is still active for LYFE, EarlyLearn (Infants & Toddlers), 3-K, Pre-K, and 4410 classrooms. Children two years old and older, and all staff in these classrooms, must continue to wear a face covering indoors. Since children under the age of five are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine, face coverings remain our strongest defense against COVID-19 for our youngest learners.
In addition, any staff member or student in grades Kindergarten or higher returning on Day 6 following a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or after having COVID-like symptoms is still required to wear a well-fitting mask at all times on school property through Day 10.
Masks are strongly recommended for any staff member or student who knows they have been exposed to COVID-19 within the previous 10 days. Mask wearing is still required in medical rooms and nurses’ offices, as well as in School Based Health Centers. Nurses will have masks on hand for anyone entering who may need one.
COVID-19 Guidance Charts
We recognize that families need clear information to help them make decisions related to COVID-19. While you can read about our policies in detail below, you can also refer to the following flowcharts that outline the steps you should take if your child feels sick, was exposed to COVID-19, or tested positive for COVID-19.
Shortened Isolation and Quarantine Periods
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. In light of recent changes by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State Department of Health, the Department of Education will implement shortened isolation and quarantine periods starting January 31.
The isolation period for K-12 students with a positive COVID-19 test result has been shortened to five day from ten days. This means if your child tests positive for COVID-19 and is in kindergarten or higher, your child can return to school on Day 6.
- Children can return from isolation on Day 6 if they have no symptoms or their symptoms are improving, and they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.
- Students returning from isolation on Day 6 must wear a well-fitting mask such as a KN95, KF94, or a cloth mask over a disposable surgical mask on Days 6–10.
Children in Pre-K and under who test positive for COVID-19 still must isolate for 10 days.
Please be aware that any child (in any grade) who has completed their isolation period is NOT required to show proof of a negative test result before being allowed to return to school or work.
Shortened Quarantine for COVID-19 Exposure
The quarantine period for students exposed to COVID-19 has been shortened. Students in K-12 will continue to use home test kits to stay in school after an in-school exposure.
- If your child is NOT fully vaccinated and was exposed to COVID-19 outside of a school setting, your child must quarantine for at least 5 days; this is reduced from 10 days.
- If your child is fully vaccinated and was exposed outside of school, your child can continue to attend school so long as they do not have any symptoms.
- All students are required to wear masks while on school grounds, and students who were exposed must wear a well-fitting mask such as a KN95, KF94, or a cloth mask over a disposable surgical mask on Days 6–10.
Children who are at least 2 years old in LYFE, 3-K, and Pre-K only need to quarantine for five days if they are symptom-free, have a negative test, and are able to wear a well-fitting mask through Day 10. This has been shortened from ten days.
- These children must have a negative COVID-19 test from a health care provider on Day 5 OR two negative home test results from Day 4 and Day 5.
Children under 2 years old in LYFE must still quarantine for up to ten days. There is no change in this policy.
- These children can return to school on Day 8 if they are symptom-free and have a negative COVID-19 test from a health care provider on Day 5 or later. Home tests are not considered valid for this age group unless administered at the direction of a health care provider.
Any child in a LYFE, 3-K, or Pre-K classroom that was exposed but does NOT get tested for COVID-19 can return after completing a 10-day quarantine.
Rapid Testing at Home
Schools are distributing free, take-home COVID-19 rapid test kits to any students or staff who exhibit COVID-like symptoms or have been in a classroom where a positive case has been identified. Anyone who tests positive on a take-home test should immediately report it to the school and begin isolating. All students, staff and visitors must pass the DOE health screener in order to enter school buildings. No other proof of a negative result is required in order for these students to enter the school building.
- See the COVID 19 Testing for Students page for more information.
- Learn about Home Rapid Test Kits.
Consent for In-School Testing
Regular COVID-19 testing provides school communities and public health experts with valuable information. Every school will randomly test, on a weekly basis, students who have submitted consent for testing. Testing will be conducted at a threshold of ten percent per school. This way, if there is a positive case, action can be taken right away to protect the school community.
It is important that you provide consent for your child to participate in the in-school testing program.
- You can fill out the form in your NYC Schools Account (NYCSA)(Open external link),
- You can also download the form online, fill it out and return it to your child's school
- Don’t have an NYC Schools Account? Learn how to get started, today!
Find a COVID-19 Testing Site
All New York City students and staff members are strongly encouraged to get tested. Working in partnership with the Test+Trace Corps, families and staff members can go to any City-run testing sites to get tested or pick up readily available at-home rapid tests.
- To find a testing site offering rapid tests, visit nyc.gov/covidtest(Open external link), text “COVID TEST” to 855-48, or call 311
Daily Health Screening
Every student and staff member must complete the Health Screening Form(Open external link) prior to entering the school building each day. Anyone entering the building must confirm that they are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, have not recently tested positive for COVID-19, and are not currently required to quarantine based on close contact with an infected person. If you need a thermometer to check for a fever, you can request one from your school.
If a student or staff member is feeling ill, they must stay home and get tested, which is an effective way of protecting the whole school community. Every school will have a nurse on staff to whom students can report if they are feeling ill.