In the face of a looming threat from the coronavirus outbreak, New York City’s public schools will be closed as of today. This closure will last at least through April 20th--and possibly through the end of the school year.
This move--though difficult--is critical to the city’s strategy of slowing the advance of coronavirus among New York City’s children, teachers, school workers, and the public.
Some of the details of the closure plan are yet to be worked out or still in flux, but below is a run-down of the key elements announced so far:
- All Week: Breakfast and lunch will be available at every building through Grab-and-Go meals in every school from 7:30 am-1:00 pm (it’s any school, so if you live closer to another school, go there)
- Monday, March 16: Citywide closure. Students, teachers, and principals do not report.
- Tuesday, March 17-Thursday, March 19: All staff reports. Teachers and principals participate in professional development in remote learning.
- Thursday, March 19-Friday, March 20: Students who need it will be able to begin the process of picking up the technology necessary for remote learning. More guidance to families will be sent this week.
- Monday, March 23: Remote learning launches, with additional guidance provided throughout the week of the 23rd.
- Monday, March 23: Regional Enrichment Centers will be available for the children of first responders, healthcare workers, and our most vulnerable populations, with more details to follow.
Remote learning will go into effect for grades K-12 the week of March 23rd. DOE will support schools at all levels of readiness to deliver remote learning, and more information will be provided to families about online platforms in the coming days.
School officials and the Office of the Comptroller are working with Apple to purchase and give out up to 300,000 iPads and several telecommunications companies to help with internet access.
We will follow-up with a separate email when more information is available and check the DOE Coronvirus webpage regularly for the lastest.
It is critical that all parents sign up for a New York City schools account for their children to access these remote learning programs. You can sign up for your account HERE.
"Learn at Home" Resources
In addition to “remote learning”, the Department of Education is providing supplementary learning resources to students and parents for use during the school closure. To help students engage in educational material, DOE has shared resources for students in all grades, from Early Learn through elementary and middle school, and for high school. These materials should not replace “remote learning” plans, but during this unusual time, it is important that students supplement their course work
- Guides and materials for instructional activities
- Recommended educational television shows
- Links to a variety of books, magazines, and websites on a wide range of topics that appeal to children at all ages
Announcing New Digital District Office and Constituent Services
In an effort to promote social distancing and to keep the public and my staff safe, I have decided to close my district office. I want to assure you that we will work hard to keep our constituent services in District 7 up-and-running during this challenging period.
My staff and I will continue to be available to you by phone or online to assist with any issues you are experiencing in-district or if you need any information on how to stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.
I have also set up a Digital District 7 Office page on Facebook as a resource to the community while my office is closed to the public. I will post regular updates and information on this page concerning COVID-19 and important community matters. You can also message the page and a member of my staff—all of which will continue to work remotely—will respond quickly. You can visit our District Office Page here or send a direct message here.
New Restrictions For NYC Bars and Restaurants
New York City had a sense of normalcy over the weekend with bars and restaurants full of people in close contact putting themselves (and others) at risk voluntarily. We need everybody to avoid crowds and congested places and to avoid close contact with strangers to fight this outbreak.
Thankfully, Mayor de Blasio is now signing an executive order effective at 9 a.m. this Tuesday, mandating that all nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses, and concert venues must close, while restaurants, bars, and cafes can no longer serve dine-in customers. City restaurants will still be able to deliver food and other businesses will remain unaffected by the order.
Personal Prevention for COVID-19
Although these recommendations seem basic, it is vital that everyone continues to follow proactive measures to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Public health officials recommend the public should:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing
- Do not touch your face with unwashed hands
- Refrain from shaking hands
- Monitor your health closely and stay home if you feel sick
- Keep away from crowded public places and stay at home if possible
As outlined in NYC Health guidelines, if you feel sick you should stay at home and self-monitor yourself for fever, cough, shortness of breath or other cold or flu-like symptoms. If you have these symptoms you should stay home and not attend work, school, public events or group gatherings. If you do not feel better in 24-48 hours, contact your health care provider BY PHONE.
If you need help getting medical care, please call 311 regardless of immigration, insurance or financial status.
Keeping Up-To-Date with Factual Information
We have already seen misinformation and rumors spread online that have hindered our ability to respond to this outbreak. Beating back misinformation takes up valuable time and resources that need to be focused on fighting the virus.
You should not rely on social media or over-sensationalized news reports to get the best information on Coronavirus. I would highly recommend that you regularly check NYC Health’s Coronavirus multi-lingual website, which has been set up to provide the public with practical and accurate information with real-time updates, effective prevention measures, and other important resources.
The city has also set up text-alert systems in English and Spanish so you can receive real-time updates on the city’s COVID-19 response. New Yorkers should text COVID to 692-692 for English or COVIDESP to 692-692 for Spanish.
If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact our office at (212) 928-6814 or [email protected].
Council Member Mark Levine