August 13, 2020
Through partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals, certified nurses in every school building and provide coverage for all early childhood programs.
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza today announced a guarantee of nursing coverage in every public school building and all early childhood programs across the city. Through a partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals, every student and staff member will have a qualified medical professional available every day as we reopen schools and continue to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“We are going above and beyond to give our children the education they deserve while putting safety and health first every step of the way,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With our school nurses and rigorous test and trace protocols we will prevent the spread of the virus and guarantee a safe reopening.”
“Before anything else this fall, we are prioritizing health and safety, and this is an absolutely critical component of providing a safe place for our young people to learn during this pandemic,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “Thank you to the staff and parents who advocated for more nursing supports in schools. Your voices helped make this expansion possible.”
Nursing coverage for schools serving Kindergarten through 12th grade is being provided through a NYC Health + Hospitals nursing contract for 400 full-time, onsite nurses. Nurses will be hired and in-place by the first day of school.
The over 2,000 early childhood care programs and new Learning Bridges childcare programs require two layers of nursing coverage. 100 contract nurses will be hired to provide geographic coverage, prioritizing the zip codes hardest hit by COVID-19, for early childhood and Learning Bridges childcare programs. Additionally, the Department of Education will contract with a tele-health nursing provider to make available a hotline accessible to all programs Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM. Program leaders, Family Child Care Network staff and home-based providers could call and consult with a nurse who would be specially trained to advise program leaders on COVID-19 and other medical questions and concerns.
The expansion of school nurses is a critical part in preparing schools for a healthy and safe reopening of this fall. Previously, the Department announced health policies establishing strict thresholds for opening and closing schools based on COVID-19 transmission rates, standards for air flow and ventilation in all rooms used by staff and students, and the central purchasing of cleaning supplies and PPE for all schools.
Universal nursing coverage will provide every school with a medical professional who can respond when a student or staff member presents with symptoms at school. They are a critical component of school response protocols for isolating, caring for, and investigating suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in schools. They will work in close partnership with the NYC Test + Trace Corps team assigned to public schools to quickly stop the spread of COVID-19.