What you need to know about NYC’s school closures

March 16, 2020

Photo via Pixabay

All New York City public schools will be closed for at least four weeks in response to the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday. “This is a decision that I have taken with no joy whatsoever, with a lot of pain, honestly, because it’s something I could not in a million years have imagined having to do,” the mayor said. Starting Monday, the city’s nearly 1,800 schools will be closed until April 20 at the earliest. The city, which is the largest public school system in the country with 1.1 million students, has pledged to provide grab-and-go meals to students, open enrichment centers to serve children of first responders and healthcare workers, and supply 300,000 iPads to students without access to devices.

NYC schools will be closed from March 16 to April 20, at the earliest

Starting March 16, all schools are closed to all students and staff. Between March 17 and March 19, all teachers and principals will be trained on how to teach remotely. According to Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, officials from the Department of Education will distribute, train, and guide teachers on what the remote learning model will look like. No students will be in school during this time.

As of now, schools are scheduled to reopen following spring recess on Monday, April 20. The mayor has said there is a possibility the schools will close for the rest of the school year.

Breakfast and lunch will still be served as “grab-and-go” meals

Breakfast and lunch will be distributed at more than 400 sites across the city from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Three meals per day will be available to all NYC children, with all meals able to be picked up at the same time. Use this tool to find a free meal location near you.

Remote learning begins on March 23, with the city beginning to distribute iPads this week to those without the necessary technology

Remote learning will begin on Monday, March 23 for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Parents should sign up for a New York City Schools account to access “Learn at Home,” resources for remote learning. The materials on the DOE-run website are organized by grade level and include suggested daily study schedules, instructional activities, recommended educational television shows, and links to books, magazines, and websites.

The site notes that the materials do not replace what students have been learning in school, “but during this unusual time it is important that students continue to read, write, do social studies and science activities, and work on math problems.”

The mayor also announced on Sunday plans to provide iPads to 300,000 public school students who do not have access to devices needed for at-home learning. The city is working with Apple and T-Mobile to distribute these devices, which will start with 25,000 iPads on March 19 and 20. Priority will be given to students suffering from poverty and/or living in temporary housing.

The city will open several specialized sites to serve children of first responders and healthcare workers

Starting March 23, several dozen Regional Enrichment Centers are opening across the city for children of healthcare workers, transit workers, first responders, and vulnerable populations. There will be 93 enrichment centers to serve 57,000 students, which will operate between 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Each room will have a maximum of 12 children with at least one adult. In addition to regular courses, children will also have access to art, music, and physical education.

Find more resources here:

NYC Department of Education official COVID-19 information
New York State’s official COVID-19 information
New York City’s official COVID-19 information


Editor’s note 3/23/20: This post was originally published on March 16, 2020 and has been changed to reflect updates in regional enrichment centers and meal offerings.

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