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As we continue to get closer to the May 15 benchmark of NY on PAUSE, we want to continue to remind everyone that it is essential for us to continue following social distancing guidelines and continue taking precautionary measures, such as limiting our time outside and wearing face coverings. We have made a lot of progress in diminishing coronavirus cases and with the warm weather approaching, it can be tempting to let go of these guidelines, however, many of the requirements to reopen our city and state rely on continued downward trends. Ultimately, the reopening of our city will largely depend on our collective actions. For any questions or concerns, we encourage our community members to call our phone line at (212) 256-9036 and to access our available resources through our COVID-19 Virtual Community Center

As of today, there are 174,709 positive COVID-19 cases and 14,162 deaths in NYC, and 43,744 hospitalizations.

In NYS, there are 327,000 positive COVID-19 cases and 20,828 deaths.

COVID-19 Updates

Where can I get free face coverings?

New York City will continue distributing face coverings in parks across the city free of charge through Tuesday, May 12th. To find a location near you, visit this map. Additionally, New Yorkers can find face coverings at DOE Grab & Go meal sites, NYCHA buildings, Mitchell-Lama buildings, grocery stores, and during social distancing enforcement. AMPHS is also offering free face masks for essential workers currently working in South Brooklyn, through a partnership with Target Margin Theatre and Union of Arab Women. Click here to request a mask.

Are there updates to the burial assistance provided by the Human Resources Administration?

To address the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, DSS/HRA issued an emergency rule that Increases the burial allowance from $900 to $1,700 and increases the cap on burial costs from $1,700 to $3,400. The timeframe to apply has also been extended to 120 days from the date of the individual‘s death. Applications received on or after March 12, 2020 will be considered for the increased burial assistance allowance. All applications received will be reviewed regardless of immigration status. For more information on the application process, visit the HRA page.

Are there any updates on the plans to reopen New York State?

May 15 is the next benchmark for New York state as it looks to reopen in phases, each two weeks apart. These are the industries that will reopen in each phase:

  • Phase 1: construction, manufacturing and wholesale supply chains, and self retail-curbside pickup
  • Phase 2: professional services, finance and insurance, retail, administrative support and real estate/rental leasing. 
  • Phase 3: restaurants/food services and hotel/accommodations
  • Phase 4: arts/entertainment/recreation and education. 

Although businesses will be allowed to reopen, they must follow necessary safety precautions, which include adjusted workplace hours and shift design, social distancing, non-essential travel restrictions, use of masks and strict cleaning and sanitation standards.

How is COVID-19 affecting children?

More than 15 children were hospitalized with an iIllness possibly tied to COVID-19. The health authorities in New York City issued an alert saying that the children had a syndrome that doctors do not yet fully understand. 

Many of the children, ages 2 to 15, have shown symptoms associated with toxic shock or Kawasaki disease, a rare illness in children that involves inflammation of the blood vessels, including coronary arteries.

 Pediatricians in several European countries, including Italy, Britain, France and Spain, have reported dozens of cases of children presenting these kinds of symptoms as well. However, no deaths have been recorded, and although many of the children tested positive for the coronavirus, others didn’t. 

Although this is very rare, if your child presents with any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Is there a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 yet?

No, but research is in progress. On Monday, May 4, 2020, several New York patients were dosed with a COVID-19 mRNA-based vaccine. This is one of America’s first clinical trials for preventing the deadly virus. 

The trial is being done in cooperation with Pfizer and BioNTech SE, which are developing the vaccines.The drug companies plan to test the vaccine on 360 healthy volunteers for the first stage of the study, adding up to 8,000 volunteers by the end of the second stage. The study will be conducted at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the University of Rochester Medical Center and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

A similar trial with Pfizer was also launched in Germany. In both countries, the trials enroll healthy patients to receive two doses of one of the four experimental vaccines or a saline solution, as a placebo. If the tests are successful, the vaccine could be ready for emergency use here as early as September.

Education Updates

What is being done to supplement remote learning for children?

The DOE, in partnership with the WNET Group, launched a new public television program called Let’s Learn NYC!, which features lessons for children in 3-K through second grade that will supplement the current remote learning environment. Starting May 4, episodes of Let’s Learn NYC! will begin airing weekdays at 11:00 a.m. on PBS station THIRTEEN, and will continue through the end of the school year. Following each broadcast, each episode and supplemental learning materials will also be made available on and Archived videos will include English and Spanish captions.

What is being done to support parents with remote learning?

A group of District 15 teachers PreK-8 have collaborated to volunteer up to two office hours per week to support parents in the areas of technology, content, and/or translation by appointment. Please email a teacher to schedule a videoconference or phone appointment during their office hour. To download office hours please click here.

How can students obtain working papers?

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has provided an alternative process for issuing working papers for students between the ages of 14–17. 

  • Parents/guardians and minors can still complete the AT-17 Application for Employment Certificate
  • Email the completed form to the school or district issuing official, available on NYSED’s Employment of Minors website
  • After the form is submitted, the issuing school-level official will schedule a video conference with the minor, and if required, the parent or guardian; required documentation will be shared then. 
  • Principals or designated school officials issuing the employment certificate can then complete the working card, sign it, and mail it to the minor. The minor should sign the card upon receipt. The requirement that the minor sign the card in the presence of the issuing official is temporarily waived for the duration of New York’s COVID-19-related school closures.
  • For additional information, visit the Department of Education’s page.

Date Changes

  • Eviction Moratorium: Governor Cuomo will extend the moratorium on evictions another 60 days, until August 20, and the state will bar landlords from charging late fees on rent that was not paid during the virus crisis. Tenants will also be allowed to use security deposits toward a month’s rent.
  • Health Insurance: New Yorkers without health insurance can now apply through NY State of Health through June 15, 2020. You must apply within 60 days of losing coverage.
  • Elections: The Presidential primary will once again take place on June 23, 2020. A federal judge ruled that the state Board of Elections must hold the presidential primary. The board is likely to appeal the decision. As a reminder, down ballot primaries are still on either way and you can request an absentee ballot here now. Absentee ballots will also be mailed directly to active and inactive voters closer to Election Day.