New York Public Schools 2021 Back to School Guide

Let's talk back-to-school! The following is a summary of important updates pertaining to NYC public schools for the upcoming school year. For all official information related to NYC public schools please consult the Department of Education’s website

This past May, at the end of the 2020-2021 school year, Mayor DeBlasio and Chancellor Porter announced that, after a school year where more than 60% of NYC students learned remotely, schools would return to in-person learning for all students in September with no remote option.

The Mayor’s announcement was short on details of how the transition back to full-time, in-person learning will happen but he soon announced a new program, Summer Rising, for all kids (K-12) who want to participate. Summer Rising aims to help remediate some of the learning loss that happened throughout the school year and to prepare students for their return to in-school learning in the fall.

3-K results for children born in 2018 were released in June. All offers, including waitlists offers, need to be accepted by July 30th. Learn about 3-K admissions and sign up for a summer information session here.

Families with children born in 2016, 2017, and 2018 who need a 3-K, Pre-K or kindergarten program are invited to join virtual information sessions happening throughout the summer to learn about applicable programs.

Read Chancellor Porter’s letter to families about the academic recovery plan NYC public schools.

Despite changes to CDC mask guidelines, NYC is sticking to a universal mask mandate in all schools.

When schools reopen in September, NYC public school teachers will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly.

The deadline to register for the summer SHSAT and LaGuardia High School audition is August 6th. This year’s test is open to both newcomers to the the city and to rising 9th and 10th-graders who were unable to take the exam and/or audition during the school year because of COVID-19. See Inside School’s SHSAT guide for full details.

Hunter College High School will send admission decisions for this year's entering 7th grade class starting Friday, July 30th and throughout the following week.

NYC mandates COVID vaccines for "high risk" sports. Vaccinations will be required for high school athletes and their coaches in football, basketball, volleyball, lacrosse, wrestling, competitive cheerleading, and rugby. Vaccination will also be required for bowling, since it takes place indoors.

NYC will require the COVID-19 vaccine for all DOE employees with no testing option.

School officials announced a COVID safety plan for NYC Schools detailing protocols for testing, quarantining, masking, and vaccines.

Applications for admission to Hunter College Elementary School for kindergarten in September 2022 are available as of Tuesday, September 14, 2021. Kindergarten is the only entry point to Hunter Elementary School and, this year, applications are available to families in all 5 boroughs for the first time. Application deadline is November 2nd.

New York City will eliminate it's Gifted and Talented test in kindergarten and phase out the program starting this fall.

2021 Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) is open. NYC 8th and 9th graders who wish to attend a Specialized High School must register to take the SHSAT, for entry to 9th and 10th grade in the 2022-2023 school year by Monday, November 15, 2021. The test will be administered in December 2021

The DOE will host online virtual high school and specialized high school admission information sessions this fall. A recording of the session is available, in case you are not able to attend.

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