Letter to NEST+m Students and Families, Week of April 6, 2020

Dear NEST+m Students and Families,

We hope that you’ve created the space for self-care and rest this weekend.

As we strive to stay Balanced, Energized, Optimistic & Connected, I am writing to share new DOE guidelines, announced, this weekend, regarding NYC DOE Videocoferencing and instructional Expectations (see below) for April 9th and April 10th. Also, please read Chancellor Carranza’s letter of April 3rd regarding Spring Recess.

Please be patient with yourselves and with our teachers and faculty as we continue to navigate health, wellness, teaching and learning within our K-12 school community.

I am sending best wishes for good health and meaningful learning.


Mark Berkowitz

Instructional Expectations for April 9th & April 10th + April 13 to April 17: 

While honoring family and faculty religious observance, we will use April 9th and April 10th to:

  • Allow students to continue with already-assigned, meaningful work from this current week or prior weeks. We will not assign new work to be completed on Thursday April 9th and Friday April 10th.
  • Join teachers for optional meeting times/ office hours
  • We will be thoughtful in our approach to the Week of April 13 to April 17th. Additional communication will be sent this week.

Guidance on Attendance:

  • For Students: While we continue to encourage students and families to complete their child’s daily attendance link between 8:20 am and 3:00 pm each day, please know that the daily link will stay live through 9:00 pm to accommodate the remote learning needs of our students. Attendance will be finalized by 3:00 pm on the following day.

Please see this important update from DOE Central that has been sent to schools this weekend. We are expected to migrate off of Zoom. Our shift will take place by or before April 20th.

DOE Central Guidance on NYCDOE Video Conferencing

The New York City Department of Education (DOE) understands the urgency around providing safe and secure virtual-meeting solutions to protect our students while delivering the best possible remote learning experience.

The DOE has received requests to credential Zoom for use by faculty, students, and service providers. In the course of its credentialing process, the DOE has received various reports documenting issues that impact the security and privacy of the Zoom platform. Based on the DOE’s review of these documented concerns, the DOE will no longer permit the use of Zoom at this time. DOE staff and service providers should cease using Zoom as soon as possible, and should migrate to Microsoft Teams, as discussed in more detail below.

After a thorough review of the security, compliance and reporting features of our existing offerings, Microsoft Teams sufficiently supports our diverse virtual conferencing needs while also providing the necessary privacy protections for our staff and students. The DOE has an enterprise HIPAA and FERPA-compliant tenant of Microsoft Teams in production for use for all DOE staff, students, and service providers using a DOE-issued identity and password.

Students should use their DOE student account credentials, and staff should use their DOE credentials (their @schools.nyc.gov accounts).

Below are important Teams features that are available for use:

  • Private video space for one-on-one meetings;
  • Easy access to call in or video connect;
  • Ability to dial into the conference;
  • Software installation is not required (i.e. browser enabled);
  • Ability to record meetings and conferences;
  • Ability to remotely control a shared desktop computer;
  • Ability to password-protect a virtual meeting space;
  • Ability to share screens;
  • Ability to create discussion threads;
  • File sharing capability; and
  • Ability to restrict individual chats.

In the meantime, the DOE is working on security credentialing other video conferencing providers, including Google, and will provide guidance on the use of those platforms as it becomes available.

The DOE also continues to review and monitor developments with Zoom, which may be approved for use at a later date, when security and data privacy concerns are met.

Please note that Google Classroom, with the exception of video and voice conferencing, is also currently permitted for use.