2021 New York Independent Schools Back-to-School Guide

Independent Schools are private schools each having an ‘independent’ philosophy and unique mission that are managed by a board of governors or trustees. They can be co-ed or single-sex, day schools or boarding schools, religious or not religiously affiliated.

Each school has it’s own COVID-19 safety and vaccination policy so be sure to check what your specific schools policy is.

Many New York independent schools are members of The Independent Schools Admissions Association of Greater New York (ISAAGNY), a not-for-profit organization whose members agree to adhere to it’s admissions practices and procedures.

Not all independent schools are ISAAGNY members so be sure to check each school’s affiliation when applying. Applying to an independent school is a multi-step process that involves completing written or online applications, screening tests, school tours, parent and/or child meetings/interviews and financial documentation (if requesting financial assistance). For safety reasons, most schools have instituted a virtual application process during the pandemic.

Refer to the ISAAGNY website for their Principles of Good Practice that all member schools abide by and notification and reply dates of applications for 2022/2023 school year.

Let’s Talk School is hosting our 11th Annual Virtual Independent School Kindergarten Admissions Panel and School Fair on Monday & Tuesday, August 30-31. You’ll be able to meet and engage directly with school admission directors who’ll provide information about their schools and this fall’s application process.

To learn about boarding schools, consult The Association of Boarding Schools.

2021 New York Catholic School Back-to-School Guide

New York Catholic schools are all privately managed by the Archdiocese of New York (ADNY), the Diocese of Brooklyn or the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The Diocese of Brooklyn oversees Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens, The Diocese of Rockville Center oversees Long Island schools, and the New York Archdiocese oversees Catholic schools in the rest of New York and surrounding regions.  

Read the ADNY schools reopening plans for this fall and the Brooklyn Diocese COVID-19 safety protocols.    

Registration for the 2021 Test for Admission into Catholic High Schools (TACHS) for 2022 is now open. Students in the eighth grade during the 2021-2022 school year who wish to apply for fall 2022 admission into Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese of New York, Brooklyn/Queens and Rockville Centre are eligible. This year, the TACHS exam will be administered as an online, remote, at-home test.

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.

NYC Public And Private Schools In “Hotspot” Zip Codes Will Stop all In-Person Learning on Tuesday, Oct. 6

© Can Stock Photo / Yakobchuk

NY Governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced today that school in zip codes with recent spikes of COVID-19 infections will transition from in-person or hybrid learning to 100% remote learning on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, for an undetermined amount of time.

The affected neighborhoods and zip codes are Borough Park (11219), Gravesend (11223), Midwood (11230), Bensonhurst (11204), Flatlands (11210), Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay (11229) in Brooklyn; and Far Rockaway (11691), Kew Gardens (11415), Kew Gardens Hills (11367) in Queens.

NYC Mayor DeBlasio's school reopening plan calls for at least a two-week shutdown with schools reopening after a community has less than a 3% positivity rate for 7 straight days, but Governor Cuomo stated that the criteria for reopening these school have not been determined yet.