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While we are all staying at home to ensure safe social distancing, we want to let you know that AMPHS is here to help! On Wednesday, March 25, we celebrated our tenth birthday since AMPHS was founded in 2010, at a time when we are undergoing one of our greatest public health crises and when we know how important health justice means to our communities. If you need to speak with someone to receive social assistance services during this difficult time, our phone lines are open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM at (212) 256-9036

We are aware that this week has been an eventful one for many parents in our community as remote learning began Monday, March 23rd, 2020. We understand that this new system continues to cause confusion and concerns for many families. Today’s newsletter is meant to share updates from the Department of Education and to help alleviate some of the community’s concerns regarding this shift to remote learning. As of today, there were 52,318 cases in NYS and 29,766 in NYC.

Where and when can I or my child get free meals?

The New York City Department of Education is committed to making three free meals available daily for all NYC children. Beginning March 23, meals will be distributed at more than 400 sites across the city. Three meals a day will be available to all NYC children, Monday through Friday 7:30 am to 1:30 pm at locations across the city.  Parents can find the closest location serving meals here. Families may also text the word “Food” or “Comida” to  877-877 to find the closest meal hub.

What do I need to pick up free meals?

Meal distribution hubs will serve anybody, including adults, and have been directed to not turn anyone away. Parents and guardians may pick up meals for themselves and their children without the child present, and should simply tell the staff at the location how many people they need to feed‎. No registration, ID, or documentation required. All three meals may (and should) be picked up at the same time to minimize contact. No dining space is available, so meals must be eaten off premises. .

What platform is being used for remote learning?

Each school has its own online platform, with many schools using Google Classroom. Educators have contacted school communities to let you know what remote learning tool your child’s school will be using. You can find instructions on DOE student accounts and getting started in Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams at schools.nyc.gov/learnathome. If you are having additional problems connecting, contact your school directly via email. Find a School tool can help you find contact information for your school as well, if you do not already have it: schools.nyc.gov/find-a-school.

What devices can be used for remote learning?

Families can access remote learning from any internet-enabled electronic device including laptops, Chromebooks, iPads, X-box, Playstation, cellphones, etc.  If families need an electronic device, Parent Coordinators can help them fill out the request form.

My child doesn’t have a device at home for remote learning, how can we get access to one?

The Department of Education (DOE) will help you get a device with internet connection. If your child needs a device to participate in remote learning, and you have not yet filled out a device request form, please visit coronavirus.schools.nyc/RemoteLearningDevices

Throughout last week, the many schools distributed the devices they previously had to students and the DOE has secured additional devices that it will be distributing to students under tiered “priority” categories over the next several weeks. Apple has donated 300,000 iPads to the DOE. The first 25,000 of this 300,000 began delivery Monday, March 23rd, to students in temporary housing. As they receive the next shipment of 50,000 next week, the DOE will continue to ensure that the 100,000  students in temporary housing have priority for delivery. They anticipate another delivery of 50,000 each week until they have given out all 300,000. Devices are being given on a rolling basis, so families that have filled out the survey should expect to be contacted soon. 

Families who have trouble connecting should reach out to their schools directly. Each school will be troubleshooting its own remote technology issues with support from DOE. The DOE is working to create more supports for parents in this transition. Educators have received both guidance and training to support them during this switch to remote learning. 

How many devices should each family receive? 

Each school-aged child should receive their own device. If your school has only provided one device for multiple children, you should fill out the survey to request additional devices. 

Will digital assistance be provided to families in other languages? 

The DOE is working directly with Google to create tutorials and guidance in all the top 9 languages, and will also work to get more languages available. The call line 718-935-5100, option 5, should also have translation services available. 

What will happen if my child is in an Individualized Education Program (IEP)?

If your student is recommended for integrated co-teaching, special class, or special education teacher support services, your school will make every effort to arrange for them to continue to receive instruction from the same special education teachers and classroom paraprofessionals that usually teach them. Someone from your school will contact you to discuss how instruction will be delivered. Your child’s IEP meetings will still take place; IEP meetings will be conducted by phone. To make a referral for initial evaluation or reevaluation, you can email your principal or specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov, or call 311. For more on remote learning for students with IEPs, please visit schools.nyc.gov/learnathome.

How can families contact schools? 

 You may contact schools via phone, however, they have suggested the best way to reach out is by email. Emails for principals, parent coordinators, and teachers are available on the school websites that are publicly available. Please contact Deputy Director for Community Affairs, Michele Martinez Gugerli, (MMartinezgugerli@schools.nyc.gov) if a school does not have email contacts on their website. The DOE will continue to work on developing ways for families to connect with their schools.

How can newly arrived immigrants enroll in school?

Family Welcome Center (FWC) staff are available remotely to assist with enrollment and placement of new admissions, questions around admissions, information about offers, and waitlists. To receive direct support e-mail your questions to (and/or call 311):

How can families who don’t have Wi-Fi access remote learning for their children?

If the youth receives a loaned DOE device, the device will be WiFi enabled. However, for areas where these services are not yet provided and/or for other issues regarding WiFi, the DOE says they will continue to work with providers and find solutions.

  • Charter Communications is giving households with K-12 and college students free Spectrum Wi-Fi for 60 days, along with free installation of the service for low-income families. Those who qualify as low-income will still be eligible for high-speed broadband. Charter will also expand Wi-Fi hotspots to the public in areas covered in Charter’s available regions. To enroll your household in this Spectrum offer, call 1-844-488-8395. Customers who sign up for the free service will automatically be billed for using internet access after the first 60 days unless they call Spectrum to cancel the service. Availability of services also depends on your address.
  • Low-income families who live in a Comcast (Xifinity) service area can sign up for 60 days of free Internet Essentials service as a new customer. The company is also increasing internet speeds for the Internet Essentials service from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps for all new and existing customers indefinitely. To enroll your household in this offer, you can do so online by visiting  www.internetessentials.com, or you may call 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.
  • AT&T will be offering free service at their public wifi hotspots for 60 days.
  • Verizon, AT&T, Spectrum, and Comcast will not charge late fees or disconnect accounts for an indefinite amount of time.
  • T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Comcast are all lifting their unlimited data caps for cell phone subscribers for at least 60 days.

What will happen if students don’t have their technology in time?  

The DOE knows there will be a lag time as people get access to technology and Wi-Fi and/or adjust to online learning. Students will not be penalized for any gaps during this time of transition. Prior to receiving their technology, schools should be providing packets and printed materials, which are also available at Regional Enrichment Center. Schools may also be providing delivery if students are unable to pick up materials. If you face any issues, reach out to your school’s Principal or Superintendent. 

Are parents required to print assignments for their children?

No, teachers  cannot require students and their parents to use printed materials unless they are provided. If your child’s teacher is requiring printing, please inform your Principal or Superintendent.

Are schools taking attendance? Is there a uniform policy? 

A uniform set of guidance has been sent around to schools. Parents should not be asked to confirm attendance for their children. Please reach out to your Principal or Superintendent if you have been told this was a requirement.

What are Regional Enrichment Centers? 

Starting March 23rd, the Department of Education opened around 93 “Regional Enrichment Centers” and child care sites across the city for all city children of healthcare, emergency services, transit workers, grocery and pharmacy workers regardless of whether they go to public or private school. Children of other “essential” service jobs may be allowed at these sites as space permits. They are open 7:30AM to 6:00PM. Each room serves a minimum of 12 children and children will have the opportunity to participate in remote learning as well as art, music, and physical education. Parents should fill out this survey to find out if they qualify for childcare at this time.

What is the eligibility for Regional Enrichment Centers? 

While DOE has not finalized the list of eligible youth, currently centers will serve the children of first responders and critical staff, including Emergency Medical Services, healthcare workers, transit workers, and other critical workers. It also recently expanded to include grocery and pharmacy workers (please note that criteria is not as expansive as statewide executive order definitions). 

Additional Resources

Supplemental Learn-at-Home Resources for your Children

Free printable K-8 Reading and Math activity packs (available in English and Spanish)

Chinese Learning Activities

Parents’ Guide to Google Classroom

The following are locations offering free meals to families within District 15 and District 20. All locations, dates, times and menus are subject to change.

District 15:

District 20: