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Recovering, Rebuilding, and Renewing: The Spirit of New York’s Schools - Reopening Guidance

Executive Summary

The closing of schools in March 2020 has profoundly affected the lives of New Yorkers. This impact will continue through the 2020-21 school year and beyond. While no one can predict all the challenges that may arise over the coming weeks and months, it is imperative that we plan for a safe and orderly return to school.

Without question, our paramount concern is to ensure the health and safety of everyone in our schools, children and adults alike. At the same time, we must also contend with a myriad of complex challenges – catching up on months of lost in-person instruction; addressing students’ social and emotional needs in the wake of this catastrophe; ensuring all students have the ability to participate equitably in remote learning; planning for the possibility of deep budget cuts; and so many others.

The Board of Regents and Department's task was to create a framework to help guide schools and school districts as they continue to plan for school to return in the fall, whether instruction takes place in person, remotely, or through some combination of the two. That framework is presented here, in this guidance document.

The guidance provides schools and districts with the flexibility they will need to develop and implement creative solutions to their unique, local circumstances. It describes the reopening actions that schools must take and those that are recommended best practices to be considered.

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