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NYC parents can expect new high school admissions guidelines this month: Mayor

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Courtesy NYC Mayor's Office)

Mayor Bill de Blasio promised New York City public school parents that the city will release high school admissions guidelines later this month to ensure families will “ultimately be able to know their children’s admission decisions in time.”

Normally, eighth-graders interested in attending one of the city’s 400 public high schools have until early December to complete their applications and before COVID-19 reached New York City the deadline to apply was slated for Dec. 4.

But de Blasio has still not decided on new criteria for school admissions and the Department of Education has still not opened the application process for general high schools, middle schools and specialized schools.

On Thursday, the DOE opened kindergarten enrollment and released admission requirements. Parents have until Jan. 19 to enroll their child in a program. Dates for a series of virtual elementary admission sessions can be found on the department’s website, schools.nyc.gov. 

“We’ve had some additional challenges in the last few weeks that we have had to focus on,” said de Blasio. “I understand the admissions process is filled with anxiety and concern even when there isn’t a pandemic…We have to get it right given that we are dealing with entirely different realities and that have been many, many more challenges than during a normal school year” 

The admissions process will undoubtedly look different this year given that the virus has resulted in changes to some admissions criteria such as test scores, attendance and final grades. Earlier this fall, de Blasio said that he and the DOE updated admissions criteria had yet to be released since department officials had been mainly focused on reopening schools.

After delaying the start of the school year twice, de Blasio was able to reopen schools for in-person learning this September. Roughly two months later, the mayor had to order a second system-wide shutdown of New York City public schools as new cases of the virus climbed eventually pushing the city’s COVID-19 positivity rate based on a seven-day rolling average to 3%, the threshold set in the mayor’s reopening plan. 

Public schools reopened for in-person classes for a second time for the city’s youngest learnings and handicapped students this month with middle and high schools potentially reopening in January. 

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