October 2020
Dear Colleagues,
October is National Principals Month, and I’d like to take the opportunity to express my appreciation and admiration for the leadership of our school principals. I know that principals are working tremendously hard every day to support schools, teachers, and students, especially now as they rise to the challenge of providing a high-quality education to all students during the pandemic. I am inspired by the resilience that all educators have shown, despite the many challenges they face. We are so lucky to have such dedicated school leaders here in New York State. Thank you to all of our principals for everything you do, not only this month but throughout the year, to help the children of New York State grow and thrive.
As districts continue to confront the challenges of educating students during the pandemic, 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 recently released FAQs regarding teaching and learning and FAQs regarding the provision of services to students with disabilities. Please visit our Reopening Schools web page to access the guidance, FAQs, and other information about school reopening.
Below, you can find details on other announcements and resources that we have released over the last month:
surveyFall 2020 Digital Equity Survey

Digital Equity Survey

In June 2020, NYSED released a Digital Equity Survey that asked schools to provide data on computing devices and broadband access in students’ and teachers’ locations of residence. While responses were not received from all schools, the data show that the digital divide is a very real and significant concern in our state.

As many districts and schools are operating in either a fully remote or hybrid instructional model for at least a portion of their students in the 2020-21 school year, access to dedicated computing devices and sufficient, reliable high-speed internet in students’ and teachers’ places of residence continues to be a significant need.
To better serve students, families, and educators, it is imperative that NYSED has, and maintains, an updated, accurate, complete picture of the state of digital equity for New York students and teachers. This information from the survey is vital to enable the Department to both identify where these gaps persist and to assist in closing this gap for our students and teachers.
As such, NYSED is re-issuing the Digital Equity survey.
All public P-12 schools, including charter schools, and BOCES, as well as nonpublic schools with an approved special education program (853 Schools), State-Supported Schools (4201 Schools), State-Operated Schools, approved private preschool special class and special class in an integrated setting programs are required to complete the Fall 2020 Digital Equity Survey to provide information on student and teacher access to devices and the internet in their places of residence.
Initial completion of this survey is due no later than 5:00 PM on December 1, 2020.
The survey will remain open through the end of the 2020-21 school year to enable schools to provide updated data as it becomes available.
For all schools outside of the NYCDOE, the Digital Equity Survey may be accessed in the SED Monitoring and Vendor Performance System. Detailed information about how to access the survey and how to make updates to information after the initial submission are provided at the end of this week’s Fall 2020 Digital Equity Survey memo.
NYCDOE schools will receive guidance from the NYCDOE on how to provide Digital Equity data.
regsBoard of Regents Acts on Sixth Series of Emergency Regulations to Ease Burdens on Educators, Students, and Professionals in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Emergency Regulations in Response to COVID-19
This week, the Board of Regents adopted a sixth 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, the fourth series of emergency regulations at its July 2020 meeting, and the fifth series of emergency regulations at its September 2020 meeting.
library-constructionNYSED Announces $34 Million in State Aid for 232 Public Library Construction Projects Statewide

books on library shelves

NYSED recently awarded $34 million in state aid to 232 public libraries statewide to support construction and renovation projects. These funds help libraries construct new buildings, create additions, update electrical wiring and computer technology, improve broadband infrastructure, meet energy efficiency standards, renovate facilities to provide full accessibility to library users with disabilities, and provide meeting spaces to accommodate community needs.

library-fundsNew York State Library Announces Availability of Funds to Assist Libraries in Addressing the Digital Divide

CARES Act Library Program

The New York State Library recently announced that $1.75 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds are being made available to help libraries across the state prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19, including to expand digital network access, purchase internet accessible devices, and provide technical support services. These federal CARES Act funds were awarded to the New York State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Visit the State Library’s website see the allocation available for each public library system. The State Library anticipates issuing detailed guidance, including a timetable and application instructions, to the 23 public library systems before the end of October. All project activities must be completed by June 30, 2021.
ndeamNYSED Recognizes Employers of Individuals With Disabilities

m
NDEAM - National Disability Employment Awareness Month

NYSED is celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) throughout October with this year’s theme “Increasing Access and Opportunity.” NYSED’s Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services (ACCES), with several partner organizations, is hosting virtual events across the state to recognize businesses that do an outstanding job of employing individuals with disabilities. This special year marks the 75th observance of NDEAM, the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and 100 years of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Find a listing of the NDEAM 2020 statewide and regional winners on NYSED’s ACCES-VR website.
blue-ribbonU.S. Department of Education Honors 18 New York Schools as 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced the 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools. Eighteen New York schools have achieved this honor and recognition by USDOE. Please visit our website for a list of the 2020 New York State National Blue Ribbon Schools. Congratulations!
guidanceCOVID-19 Guidance and Resources

Coronavirus _COVID-19_ Guidance and Resources

NYSED has developed many comprehensive guidance documents and resources in response to COVID-19, including school reopening guidance and additional FAQs related to reopening. All of the guidance, resources, and announcements are available on our dedicated COVID-19 web page. In addition to providing guidance for P-12 schools, the web page provides links to guidance for colleges and universitiesadult education programs, and licensed professionals.