Healthy Halloween – Family Letter

Dear Families,

As Halloween approaches, we know many children and families across the city are looking forward to celebrating. We are excited to share ways to safely have fun with your family, while still being mindful of key COVID-19 prevention measures.

Here are top tips for a healthy Halloween:

Stay outdoors: Try going to a scavenger hunt in a park or walking around your neighborhood to see all the spooky decorations. Do not attend a haunted house or other indoor events.

Keep your group small: The best idea is to keep to your own household. If you meet up with people outside your household, stay outdoors and keep the group small. You should not go to parties. It is not safe to host or attend large gatherings indoors or outdoors even if everyone feels well.

Trick-or-treat safely: If you go trick-or-treating, be sure everyone is wearing a face covering, stay outdoors and 6 feet away after knocking on a door, and bring plenty of hand sanitizer. These precautions are very important, because we now know that there is significant transmission of COVID-19 by people who do not have symptoms, and that COVID-19 spreads more efficiently indoors.

No matter where you are, remember these key actions that help prevent COVID-19 transmission:

  1. Stay home if you are sick or were recently exposed to COVID-19.
  2. Keep physical distance from others.
  3. Wash your hands often.
  4. Wear a face covering.

For more tips on how to protect yourself, your children, and others, review the NYC Department of

Health and Mental Hygiene’s Halloween guidance at We wish you a spooky, safe celebration!


Dave A. Chokshi, MD, MSc Commissioner
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

CATCH Program this School Year

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Your child’s health is important to us. Unintended pregnancy is a concern for New York City teenagers. About 43% of New York City public school students become sexually active before completing high school. In fact, 13% of students entering ninth grade have had sex. In 2018 in New York City, over 1,900 females under the age of 18 and over 4,600 females 18 and 19 years old became mothers or terminated a pregnancy. Most of these pregnancies were unintended. Most teen mothers do not graduate from high school with their class.

To provide our high school students with timely and accessible services the Office of School Health began a reproductive health program in 2011 called CATCH (Connecting Adolescents to Comprehensive Healthcare). This year the CATCH program will be offered at your child’s High School. Services will be provided by the School Health nurse and a School Health doctor or nurse practitioner. The program will include reproductive health education, including information on sexually transmitted infection prevention. The program will also include reproductive health services: pregnancy testing (urine testing, no physical exam will be required), and hormonal contraception (birth control), including emergency contraception and condoms. Students must sign a form consenting to these reproductive health services before receiving them. All services are confidential and free of charge.

Guidance Regarding Use of Face Coverings for Students Participating in Blended Learning

All staff, students, and visitors over the age of two years old entering a New York City Department of Education (DOE) building MUST wear a face covering in accordance with this guidance. As discussed below, developmentally appropriate efforts will be Continue reading Guidance Regarding Use of Face Coverings for Students Participating in Blended Learning