None of us ever imagined what COVID-19 would bring: the closure of public school buildings, remote teaching and learning from home, and distancing from each other to remain safe.
This has been hard work that wouldn’t be possible without your efforts and support. We know you and your children are moving mountains to keep learning going during this time, as are the more than 150,000 dedicated educators and staff at the NYC Department of Education. I am so grateful for the support you have provided your children as we all have quickly worked to adapt to this entirely new approach to education. These are disruptive and stressful times that have already come with many challenges and a constantly evolving landscape. But with your help, we are making progress every day.
In that context, I have important updates and reminders to share with you:
School Closures: The State has announced that all schools in New York State will now remain closed through April 29, 2020.
Regents Exams: The State has cancelled June 2020 Regents exams. Families of high school students will soon receive additional guidance regarding how this impacts graduation requirements. In short, students who planned to take Regents exams in June 2020 will be exempt from these exams in order to earn their diploma, but they still must complete the required course credits to graduate. Our goal is to make sure that students on track to graduate this year continue to remain on their path toward successful completion of high school.
Math and ELA Tests: The State has cancelled math and English Language Arts tests for grades 3 through 8.
AP Exams: The College Board has announced that AP exams will not be administered in school buildings, but students will be able to take AP exams at home. We will soon provide guidance to schools and students on how to implement these changes. If you are in need of a device and have not yet done so, we encourage you to complete DOE’s remote learning device survey.
Remote Learning Tools: In order to best protect security and privacy, we are requiring schools to transition away from using Zoom as a virtual meeting tool for remote learning. We know this tool is already in use by many schools and we don’t expect it to happen overnight, but we are providing support to educators to help the transition to Google Hangouts Meet or Microsoft Teams—both of which are also in consistent use by many schools.
I believe that the professionalism and dedication of our educators has never been more apparent than throughout this extraordinary crisis. They have risen to the occasion, fundamentally transforming our learning model while also attending to the altered needs of their own families.
Likewise, your support and partnership have been critical in helping our students cope, remain safe, and learn— even as you have confronted enormous stresses of your own. Thanks to everything you and our educators are doing together, I am confident that our children will continue to meaningfully engage and progress during these times.
Like our educators during this ordeal, you are truly heroes. We know this is difficult as we all learn to navigate through this unprecedented time together. But we will continue to do everything in our power to support you every step of the way.
Richard A. Carranza
Chancellor New York City Department of Education