images of parents with their children
September 25, 2020
Dear Parents,

As we continue to transition into the new school year and schools and districts confront the challenges of reopening, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) is committed to providing continuous support and updated guidance, policies, and regulatory changes as the circumstances require. NYSED is supplementing the school reopening guidance released in July with additional FAQs, including new teaching and learning guidance released this week, and additional FAQs will be forthcoming.

You can visit our Reopening Schools web page to access the guidance, FAQs, and other information about school reopening. If you are looking for the reopening plan for your child's school, links to each plan are available from our School Reopening Plans Map.

Last week, the Board of Regents also adopted a fifth series of emergency regulations that afford essential flexibility for educators, students, and professionals to address issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board adopted the first series of emergency regulations at its April 2020 meeting, the second series of emergency regulations at its May 2020 meeting, the third series of emergency regulations at its June 2020 meeting, and the fourth series of emergency regulations at its July 2020 meeting.

Our schools, institutions of higher education, and licensed professionals have worked tirelessly to adapt to the rapidly evolving world caused by this pandemic. The emergency regulations are the latest in a series of flexibilities the Board of Regents and NYSED have extended to our partners to help them support their constituents during this unprecedented time. A full summary of the fifth series of amendments is available in last week's news release.

Before closing, I want to congratulate Jennifer Wolfe, the 2021 New York State Teacher of the Year. Ms. Wolfe, a high school social studies teacher at Oceanside High School on Long Island, is a stellar example of an educator who is devoted to teaching and learning in a way that elevates everyone around her. She has led by example throughout her career, and I'm proud to honor her as our Teacher of the Year. Learn more by watching this video produced by NYSUT honoring Ms. Wolfe's work. Congratulations, Ms. Wolfe!

I would also like to congratulate the finalists for the 2021 New York State Teacher of the Year:
  • Sara Bambino, an English teacher at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, North Syracuse Central School District;
  • James Brown, a science teacher from Sand Creek Middle School, South Colonie Central School District;
  • Chelsea Dyer, an English teacher at Columbia High School, East Greenbush Central School District; and
  • Victoria Gentile, a Special Education teacher at Fort Salonga Elementary School, Kings Park Central School District.
I appreciate your continued support, and I hope you encourage other parents to sign up for our parent email list to receive my biweekly letter.


Betty A. Rosa
Interim Commissioner