Welcome to a new school year
I hope you and your family had a safe and restful summer. I’m excited for the school year ahead.
This school year, I’ll once again be sending monthly Manhattan newsletters, with programs and events specific to Manhattan, alongside information relevant to parents and caregivers throughout the city. We’ll provide opportunities for you to get involved with the UFT and make your voice heard in the school system. We’ll be holding UFT events to help you connect with other public school families and access the support and information you need to successfully advocate for your child.
One of the first events of this school year will be our Manhattan Virtual Fall Parent Conference on Saturday, Oct. 16! We'll have workshops on topics like special education advocacy, paid internships and apprenticeships for students, stress management for parents and much more. We'll also have giveaways, special guests and other surprises. I'll be in touch within the next two weeks with registration information and additional details.
This has been a stressful summer for many parents and caregivers as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Below you’ll find information to help you start the school year strong, as well as resources from the UFT and our partner organizations. I hope this information and our ongoing programming helps you feel less overwhelmed and more prepared to advocate for the causes that are important to your family. Please always feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.
I look forward to hearing from you!
UFT Manhattan Parent and Community Liaison
Health and safety policies at schools
The DOE has released guidance on health and safety policies at NYC public schools to prevent the spread at COVID-9. Here are some key takeaways:
- School staff are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Students aged 12 and older are encouraged to get vaccinated, and student athletes in high-risk sports, such as football and volleyball, are required to be vaccinated.
- Ten percent of unvaccinated students in each school who have submitted consent for testing will be tested for COVID-19 every two weeks. If there is a positive case, the school will take immediate action to prevent it from spreading. Quarantine rules will vary depending on the vaccination status of the student.
- Students and staff will be required to wear masks on school buses and during the school day when they are not eating, drinking or taking designated "mask breaks." When students aren't wearing masks, they should maintain three feet of physical distance from each other and staff wherever possible. Schools will provide masks to students who don't have their own.
- All school visitors aged 12 or older, including parents and caregivers, must show proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to enter the school building.
You can find more information about school safety policies, including the DOE's guidance and information about how to get vaccinated, on the UFT website.
- Thursday, Sept. 23: Every year, Dads Take Your Child to School Day helps highlight the benefits of engagement among fathers, stepfathers, foster fathers, grandfathers and other male caregivers. This year's theme is "Let's Get Vaxxed for the Children." Find out how to get involved by visiting the website.
- Thursday, Oct. 21, and Friday, Oct. 22: Save the date for the UFT's online Future in Focus College and Career Fair! There will be representatives from more than 100 colleges and universities and from NYC's labor unions to help middle and high school students explore career paths and prepare for graduation. We'll be in touch soon with further details and registration information.
- Online wellness groups: Drop in at Project Hope's free, weekly online wellness groups focusing on mental health, relationships, re-entry anxiety and more. Learn more and register.
- All public school families should receive pandemic food benefits: Has your family claimed its P-EBT (Pandemic-EBT) food benefit yet? To cover the cost of missed school meals during remote learning, all public school families are entitled to $132 per month for a student who was engaged in remote learning and $82 per month for a student who was engaged in a hybrid model of learning between September 2020 and June 2021. You can find out how to claim your benefit by viewing a flier in English or in Spanish.
- Free online STEM enrichment program: Middle and high school students interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) are invited to join STEMulating Minds, a free enrichment program that meets virtually on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting Oct. 2. To learn more and register, see the flier or visit the website.