Back to school resources for NYC Public School parents

Houseman at the Mark Hotel Aaron Rojas and his kids access school resources online.

August 26, 2020 12:37 PM

On September 17, Mayor de Blasio announced that in-person learning at NYC public schools would be delayed and gradually phased in depending on your child’s grade level and class schedule. You can read more about the new in-person learning start dates on the Department of Education’s website.

The academic year for NYC public schools is scheduled to begin on September 16th, 2020. Without a vaccine we know many parents have worries about whether or not to send your children to school, what their education will be like if you don’t, and questions about how to navigate the school system and enrollment virtually. The Union has put together this page for parents of NYC public school students to help you navigate the resources and options available to you.

If you would like assistance with any of the items included on this page, click here. The Union has set up contacts with the NYC Department of Education to assist our members with questions and various enrollment needs.

Student enrollment

If your child is not yet enrolled in school for the 2020-2021 school year, or if you have any other questions about enrollment and school admissions, the NYC Department of Education’s Family Welcome Centers are set up to virtually assist parents and students. The Family Welcome Centers can be reached by email.

You can find email contact information for your school district’s Family Welcome Center here.

Stay up-to-date during the pandemic

Create an NYC Schools Account

One of the best ways to stay up-to-date with your child’s education is signing up for an NYC Schools Account (NYCSA). When you create an account, you will receive emergency notifications from the Department of Education, such as alerts about school closures or urgent information related to COVID-19. You do not need to verify your identity to receive emergency notifications.

You can also access detailed information about your child’s education by adding your children to your NYC Schools Account. This will allow you to easily access their grades and test scores, attendance records, schedule, and much more. To add your children to your account, you will need to verify your identity.

You may have received a letter about NYCSA from your child’s school, which includes a creation code that you can use to verify your identity. If you did not receive this letter, you can verify your identity by either:

  • Bringing a valid photo ID to your child’s school, along with their nine-digit student ID, which can be found on their report card.
  • Video calling with a school official.

You can sign up for an NYC Schools Account here.

Register for a "Return to School" information session

The Department of Education will be hosting three "Return to School" family and student information sessions before the beginning of the school year, to inform parents and students about the changes and precautions that NYC public schools will be taking during the school year.

The information sessions will be held via video call on these dates:

  • Citywide "Return to School" Information Session — August 27, 2020, 6:30 - 8:00 PM.
    This session will be held in English, Spanish, Chinese, and American Sign Language.
  • "Return to School" Information Session — September 1, 2020, 6:00 - 7:00 PM.
    This session will be held in Spanish only.
  • "Returning to School: The Latest Guidance from Our Health Experts" — September 2, 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM.
    This session will be held in English, Spanish, Chinese, and American Sign Language.

You can register for multiple information sessions if you wish. Register for information sessions here.

Read the New York City Schools Chancellor’s Messages to Families

Messages from the Chancellor of the the NYC Department of Education, Richard A. Carranza, are often posted on the Department of Education’s website. These messages include helpful and detailed information about health and safety updates, responses to parent concerns, and other resources for your child’s education. You can find Chancellor Carranza’s messages here.

Resources on school schedules

Find the reopening plan for your child’s school

The NYC Department of Education has announced that by default, students will be on a “blended learning schedule.” This means that, each week, students will attend classes in person on some days, and attend classes remotely, by video call, on other days.

The exact schedule of your child’s school will be determined by a program model selected by the school and approved by the Department of Education. You can learn more about program models here.

You can find the schedule of your child’s school by visiting this page and searching the school’s name. Clicking the school’s name will bring you to the school’s page, where you can scroll down to find the “School Reopening Plans for Fall 2020” tab. On this tab, you will find information about the school’s program model and general schedule. Your child’s school will provide you with your child’s specific schedule.

If you have further questions about your school’s reopening program, contact your school’s Parent Coordinator. You can find their contact information on your school’s webpage. You can find your school’s webpage by searching the school’s name here.

Coordinate your child’s schedule

It could be difficult to coordinate your child’s school schedule with your family’s schedule and your childcare needs, especially if you have multiple school-age children. Because of this, the Department of Education is encouraging schools to accommodate each family’s individual needs regarding scheduling.

All families:

You will have the opportunity to appeal your child’s school schedule if their schedule will be difficult for your family. Your child’s school will work with you to reschedule your child’s classes to fit better with your family’s needs. If you want your child to have a different schedule, you will need to appeal their schedule before the start of the school year.

Families with siblings:

If your children attend the same school, their school will reach out to you by the end of August to ask if you want your children to attend in-person classes on the same days and have the same arrival and dismissal times as each other. Your children’s school will work with you as much as possible if you want your children to have similar schedules.

If your children attend different schools, it will not always be possible to coordinate their schedules. If needed, you can use your opportunity to appeal by requesting that one or both of their schedules be changed.

Resources on remote learning

Opt into fully-remote learning

The NYC Department of Education has announced that families of public school students can choose for their children to attend school online, from home, full-time. If you want your child to only attend classes online and not attend in-person classes, you can opt into full-time remote learning at any time, and for any reason.

To choose this option for your child, fill out and submit the Learning Preference survey. The survey can be found here. You can complete this survey before or after the start of the school year.

If you initially choose full-time remote learning and later decide that you want your child to attend some in-person classes, there will be set periods throughout the year during which you can change their schedule back to part-time in-person classes and part-time remote learning. Schools will inform families about when these time periods will be at the beginning of the school year. The set time periods will close 2 weeks before your child would begin attending in-person classes, to give your family time to prepare for the change.

Request a device for remote learning

If your child is in need of a device for remote learning, they can get one. The Department of Education will lend an iPad with Internet access to any child who needs one for remote learning. You can fill out a form to request a device here.

Childcare resources during remote learning

The NYC Department of Education has partnered with community organizations to provide free child care for students from 3-K through 8th grade on days when they are scheduled for remote learning. This new program is called Learning Bridges.

If you are interested in the Learning Bridges program, you can complete a survey here. Please note that the survey is not a formal application, but is meant to assess interest in the program. The Department of Education and the Department of Youth and Community Development will share more information on the program in the coming weeks. The free childcare programs will become available on a rolling basis.


If you would like assistance with any of the items on this page, please fill out the form below.

Alternatively, you can reach out to the Union by either calling the HEAT Department at (212) 245-8100 and pressing 2 on your phone’s key pad. In your voicemail, please leave your full name, phone number, the hotel that you work at, and let us know that you are calling for assistance with NYC education.

When you fill out this form or leave a voicemail message, union staff will be able to assist you by either answering your questions, or by directing your questions to the New York City Department of Education, with whom we have set up contact to help members with their questions and/or enrollment(s).