Messages for Families

A Message to Families on the First Day of School from Chancellor David C. Banks: September 8, 2022

American Sign Language (video)

Welcome to the 2022–2023 school year!

As the father of four children, I still remember the excitement of September and my kids’ jitters over what the new school year would bring. Would they like their teachers? Would it be easy to make new friends? Would they do well in their classes? I reassured them that the adults in their school would cherish them as much as I did at home.

Now, as I prepare to experience my first “first day of school” as Chancellor, I am grateful for you and for our educators, who are as excited as I am to welcome your children back. I also appreciate that in sending your children into our classrooms, you are placing great trust in us—trust that we will challenge your children intellectually so they can live out their wildest dreams. Trust that we will keep them safe and help them grow as human beings. Trust that they will graduate with a pathway to a rewarding career and enjoy long-term economic security. Trust that we will teach your children how to be a positive force for change in our world.

I am committed to doing all of this—and more.

My team and I have spent the summer reimagining the student experience so that it better serves your children. Literacy, which is the foundational building block of all learning, will be a major focus this school year. We are transforming how we teach reading by implementing a high-quality, phonics-based literacy program in all elementary schools. We are extending learning beyond the four walls of the classroom, offering students regular visits to local museums, parks, and all the incredible resources our great city has to offer. At the same time, we are improving students’ digital learning experiences.

This year, we are also offering more of the learning opportunities you have requested, enhancing the way we serve all children. This includes an increase in Community Schools, Gifted & Talented programs, bilingual education programs, and programs to improve long-term academic outcomes for students with disabilities. Wellness and its role in student success is another priority you’ll be hearing more about.

I can’t write to families without recognizing you as the lifeblood of our school communities and our true partners in your child’s education. Be on the lookout for improved ways to access the information and support you need to help your children succeed. This will include expanded language access supports for families who speak languages other than English and more opportunities for us to work together.

Thank you for choosing NYC Public Schools. I know that there have been challenges, and I hope you agree that our schools stand ready to put all children on the path to the bright, bold futures they deserve. I encourage you to visit schools.nyc.gov/bts2022 to find the most up-to-date information about the new school year.

As always, I am honored to partner with you to better serve our children. I truly believe that the best is yet to come. So, let’s get the 2022–2023 school year started!

Update for Families on Health & Safety: Week of August 29, 2022

We’re excited to welcome you back to school on Thursday, September 8! As you prepare for the first day of school, we want to ensure that you’ve received New York City’s most up-to-date guidance on health and safety.

Reduce COVID-19 Risk

  • Get vaccinated! This is the best way to reduce COVID-19 risk.
    • We strongly encourage all eligible New Yorkers to stay up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots. To find a vaccine site near you, visit nyc.gov/vaccinefinder or text your zip code to 438829. For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, visit nyc.gov/covidvaccine.
    • Vaccination is still required for all visitors entering school buildings. This includes NYC Department of Education (DOE) employees; anyone who works in DOE buildings; and anyone participating in high-risk extracurricular activities, including Public School Athletic League (PSAL) sports. To learn more, please visit schools.nyc.gov/2022health.
  • Wear masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Masks will be available at your school. We recommend wearing well-fitting masks when indoors, and when exposed to someone with COVID-19 in or outside of school. All students and staff are required to wear a mask when:
    • Entering the school medical room, nurse’s office, or school-based health center,
    • Returning to school (including traveling by school bus) between days 6 to 10 after a COVID positive test or, if earlier, after the onset of symptoms, and
    • Showing symptoms of COVID-19 at school.
  • Test for COVID-19. Starting on the first day of school, schools will offer home test kits to students and staff who may be at risk of exposure and students or staff experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. In addition, each staff member and student will receive four tests per month to take home. In-school PCR testing will not be a part of the 2022-23 school year.
  • Stay home if you are sick. If students and staff show any symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses, they should stay home and get tested for COVID-19. This year, you will not need to complete a Daily Health Screening to enter school buildings.
  • Isolate if you are COVID-19 positive. Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for at least 5 days and can return to school on day 6 (masked through day 10) if they have no symptoms or if symptoms are improving. Be sure to report a positive case to your child’s school.

This year, schools will continue to follow CDC guidelines, using air purifiers and updated HVAC systems. Building ventilation will be monitored daily, and surfaces cleaned regularly.

Get Vaccinated Against Polio

Poliovirus has been identified in wastewater samples in New York City, following a case of polio identified in Rockland County. Everyone who is unvaccinated against polio — especially children — should get vaccinated immediately. Parents can check the records for their children here: myvaccinerecord.cityofnewyork.us/myrecord. Vaccination against polio is required to attend school in New York City.

If your child needs to get vaccinated against polio, make an appointment with your pediatrician or regular health care provider. If your doctor does not have the polio vaccine or you do not have a doctor, call 311. Children should get four doses of poliovirus vaccine, starting at age 2 months. Anyone starting the vaccine after age 4 months should receive a total of three doses.

Find out more about protecting yourself and your children against polio at nyc.gov/health/polio.

Learn About Monkeypox

Monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus, usually spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with the sores of someone who has monkeypox. It can also be spread through contact with clothing or bedding, or from respiratory droplets during face-to-face contact. In this current monkeypox outbreak, the virus has spread mainly among adults during close contact, such as during sex, kissing, cuddling, and massage. It can cause sores that may look like pimples or blisters, be firm to the touch, and have a dip in the center. Some people also have flu-like symptoms.

  • Do not assume someone has monkeypox if they have a rash or sores. Most rashes and sores are not caused by monkeypox virus. Sores are very common among children, and are usually due to bug bites, acne, allergies, or other causes that are not contagious and do not require staying home from school, child care, or afterschool activities.
  • Children who have a new or unexplained rash or sores should be seen by the school nurse or by their health care provider. You can find more information on monkeypox at nyc.gov/monkeypox.

Get Ready to Go Back to School on Thursday, September 8!

As you and your child gear up for the first day of school, get off to a flying start with these suggestions. For more tips, read our Back to School Checklist at schools.nyc.gov/checklist.

Sign Language Interpretation