February 11, 2022
Dear Parents and Families,
Commissioner Rosa
Every February, Black History Month provides the opportunity to celebrate Black achievement and recognize the essential role education plays in highlighting diverse cultures and historically disenfranchised voices. Throughout the month, NYSED is recognizing the importance of Black History Month in several exciting ways.

The New York State Museum offers a variety of resources for students, educators, and the public. The resources include research from historians and scientists, access to digital collections, virtual lessons and activities for the classroom, professional development videos for educators, and information about upcoming public programming related to African American history. 

To further commemorate Black History Month, NYSED and The Education Trust-New York are highlighting students who participate in the New York State My Brother’s Keeper program on social media (FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn). The #MyHistoryMyFuture campaign features inspiring quotes from outstanding students who share how the MBK program has changed their lives and their hopes and dreams for the future. We also continue to feature artwork from the New York State Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Art & Essay Exhibit using the hashtags #NYSMLK and #StudentsExhibitingMLK. Both campaigns will run through the end of February.

In addition, the New York State Library has acquired the complete works of award-winning Abraham Lincoln scholar and historian Harold Holzer. The acquisition covers Mr. Holzer’s 49-year career as a writer, lecturer, and historian specializing in President Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era. Mr. Holzer’s research papers span the life of President Lincoln, and his efforts to abolish slavery and bring our country together. We are grateful for Mr. Holzer’s support of the State Library and this remarkable donation.

New York’s nurses have played an essential, indispensable role in responding to the pandemic. School nurses, in particular, have heroically taken on added challenges to ensure the health and safety of students and staff over the last two years.

We would like to provide you with important information about a proposed regulation to allow registered nurses (RNs) to provide COVID-19 vaccines to New Yorkers who choose to be vaccinated. We understand that there has been some misunderstanding about this proposed regulation, so it is important to explain precisely what the regulation would and would not allow.

In the case of vaccinating a child, the regulation requires RNs to obtain a parent or guardian’s written permission (informed consent) before the RN may vaccinate a child against COVID-19. The regulation does not allow any RN to administer a COVID-19 vaccine to any child without written permission from the child’s parent or guardian.

The regulation, which has been in effect as an emergency rule since October 2021, is not specific to school nurses. It is a local school decision whether to allow vaccines to be administered in school (again, only with the written consent from a child’s parent or guardian), whether by the local Department of Health or the school-employed RN.
expanding access to COVID-19 vaccination
I know many of your children will be on winter break later this month, and I encourage you to follow NYSED on social media (FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn) to get ideas for fun and educational family activities. In addition to providing daily ideas during winter break, we share tips, resources, activities, and events throughout the year highlighting daily themes like “Math Monday,” “Trivia Tuesday,” and “Wellness Wednesday.” If you don’t already, be sure to follow us for these tips and ideas and for our latest news.

If you have a college-bound student, winter break is also a great time to submit your child’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You can also visit the SUNY Smart Track website for great resources that can help you plan for the costs of college and learn more about financial aid.

Thank you for all you do to support your children, schools, and communities.

Betty A. Rosa