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**For Immediate Release September 24, 2021**

Ann Powell, 646-894-6407

[email protected]org


Students at the Network’s Two High Schools Must Be Vaccinated or Tested Weekly For COVID-19 

New York, NY — To protect student learning and halt the spread of COVID-19, Success Academy today informed students and families of its two high schools that all students must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested weekly to attend school on-campus. The new policy is based on recent guidance from the city and state health departments issued earlier this month. It will go into effect Monday, November 8, which gives students adequate time to get both doses of the vaccine. All SA staff have been vaccinated since before school opened in August.

Across all NYC public schools, 720 classrooms were fully closed and 574 were partially closed in just the first eight days of school, according to the Department of Education’s tracker. Between September 13 and 22, there were 1,689 total cases of COVID-19: 1,145 students and 544 staff. In East Harlem, P.S. 79 closed was the first school to fully close on September 11, with 19 positive cases, all of them among staff.

“If we as a city don’t take action, the potential for disruption to student learning and parents’ work lives will be a repeat of last year — catastrophic,” said Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy. “Vaccinations are essential to creating a stable learning environment.”

SA will provide onsite weekly testing for students who choose that option. For any positive cases, SA will take appropriate actions and will report results to NYC’s Department of Education and Department of Health weekly.

In May, SA began vigorously promoting vaccinations for all students 12 years and older with a robust public health campaign. In August, the network hosted a series of onsite vaccination popups through a partnership with Rite Aid, with incentives of gift cards, pre-season NFL tickets and customized Nikes. Vaccination rates have increased from zero in May to 49% of all age-eligible students. Currently, at the two SA high schools, located in Midtown Manhattan and Harlem, 61% and 73%, respectively, are at least partially vaccinated. About 95% of the 800-plus enrolled students are Black and Hispanic. According to city data, only 43% of the city’s Black 13-to-17-year-olds are partially vaccinated and just 42% of white children that age have had at least one shot.

The network has consistently responded boldly and quickly to the challenges of COVID-19, from the earliest days of the pandemic:

  • SA closed its buildings and transitioned to remote learning on March 13, 2020, ahead of the city’s decision.
  • Soon after vaccines were available, in January of this year, SA informed all teachers and staff that vaccinations would be a requirement for the 2021-22 school year; except for a small number of religious and medical exemptions, all staff were vaccinated by mid-July when they began returning to campus.
  • Earlier this month, SA required vaccinations for eligible scholars to participate in clubs or sports teams, including chess, debate, choir, soccer, basketball, performing and visual arts, and school-specific clubs, as well as external enrichment programming, effective Friday, October 8.



Founded in 2006, Success Academy Charter Schools are free public K-12 schools open to all children in the state through a random lottery. With 47 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, Success Academy enrolls 22,000 students, primarily children of color from low-income households in disadvantaged neighborhoods: 74% receive free or reduced-price lunch, 94% are students of color, 16% have disabilities, and 8% are English language learners. In 2021, 100% of SA’s fourth and largest class of 129 graduating seniors were accepted to college; 71% received at least one offer from a college to meet full financial need; 75% of the class will be the first in their families to attend college.

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