November 13, 2020
Dear Parents,

Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been the health and wellbeing of our students and educators. With this in mind, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) determined that the January Regents Exams could not be safely, equitably, and fairly administered across the state given the current status of the pandemic, and we recently announced that the January 2021 administration of the High School Regents Examination Program is cancelled. This cancellation applies to all Regents Examinations that had been scheduled for the January 2021 Regents Examination period.

No decisions have been made regarding the June and August 2021 administrations of Regents Examinations or any of the other state assessment programs. We will continue to monitor applicable data and make decisions about other state assessment programs as the school year progresses, being mindful of the evolving situation.

Protecting children is part of the responsibility of educators, and that includes preventing child sexual abuse. Curriculum resources are now available to help schools and educators implement Erin’s law, which requires public schools to teach child sexual abuse and exploitation prevention in Kindergarten through eighth grade.

NYSED launched an Erin’s law website with materials to help educate students on awareness, skills, self-confidence, and support to prevent child sexual exploitation and child sexual abuse. These curriculum resources provide schools with caring, grade-appropriate materials to help empower children by letting them know it’s safe to speak up to someone they can trust. We are grateful to our partners in the legislature, Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblymember Jeffrey Dinowitz, who advocated for this law and for our students.

NYSED strives to maintain a strong connection with families and communities, and a key aspect of this connection is transparency. We recently launched a Parent Dashboard to increase transparency and make information about school performance and other school-level data easier for parents and the public to access. The Parent Dashboard increases data transparency by providing you, as parents, with valuable information about your child’s school, enabling you to make informed decisions about your child’s education.

NYSED is now gathering additional feedback from parents and stakeholders to guide further enhancements to the Parent Dashboard. We will use this feedback to identify the data that is most useful to parents and the public and to make improvements to the website. We invite you to explore the Parent Dashboard and then provide feedback via an online survey, available in 17 languages. By completing the survey, you will help us determine how the Parent Dashboard can best provide you with information about your child’s education.

All children deserve access to a high-quality education that will allow them to meet their full potential, regardless of their race or religious beliefs. NYSED will hold a series of regional meetings to engage and gather input from stakeholders in the religious and independent school community, as well as their counterparts in public schools, to inform policy decisions related to the substantial equivalence of instruction in nonpublic schools as required by Education Law Section 3204(2).

The outcomes of the stakeholder engagement sessions and the survey of religious and independent schools will be considered by the Board of Regents as it considers next steps in the process to develop regulations for substantially equivalent instruction for nonpublic school students. By engaging our partners in the field, we anticipate constructive and thoughtful discussions to develop an inclusive framework for determining substantial equivalence for the students of New York State.

Thank you, as always, for your continued partnership and dedication to your children's education.


Betty A. Rosa
Interim Commissioner