Health &Safety

Health &Safety

Safety is our number one concern at P.S. 321. We have two Police Department School Safety Agents who sit at the front desk and in the mini-school. Visitors are asked to sign in and out of the building and to wear yellow tags.

Our COVID-19 Information

The DOE has updated its Covid-19 policy for Fall of 2022. See the latest, here. We’ve highlighted some key information for our families, below. What’s New?

  • No more DOE health screener required before entering the building.
  • In-school PCR surveillance testing will not be a part of the 2022-23 school year.
  • Each staff and student will receive 4 tests per month to take home. These tests can be used by school families for testing due to symptoms, exposures, high-risk activity (such as travel and large gatherings) and can give staff and students immediate results.
  • There are at least two 160K+ air purifiers in each classroom
  • A COVID-19 vaccination requirement applies to students participating in high-risk after school extracurricular activities like chorus, musical theater, dance/dance team, and band/orchestra (with concern for woodwinds). Students ages five and up must be vaccinated in order to participate in these extracurricular activities.

The DOE COVID Flowchart: Here’s what to do if your child feels sick or tests positive for COVID. If Your Child Tests Positive for COVID-19:

  • The length of quarantine after testing positive is 5 days IF the child has no symptoms or the symptoms are improving and they have been fever free without medication for 24 hours.
  • In order to come back on day 6, in addition to the above, children must be able to wear a well-fitting KN95, KF94, or a surgical mask with a cloth mask over it, and they must be able to keep this on at all times except when eating.

If Your Child is Exposed to COVID-19: Students and staff who are exposed to COVID-19 should get tested. These individuals should receive home tests from their school and take two tests, at least 24 hours apart on day 4 and day 5 of their exposure. All exposed individuals should monitor for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms for 10 days after their exposure. If symptoms begin, they should not attend school and should isolate and get tested for COVID-19 again right away. If your child is showing symptoms: Please do not send your children to school if they are sick, even if they test negative for COVID. We have had many cases where a sick child who tests negative one day tests positive a few days later, and we want to try to avoid exposing others to sick children because of this. In order to keep everyone healthy and slow the spread of COVID-19, students will not be able to attend in-person classes if they have:

  • Experienced any symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever of 100.0 degrees F or greater, a new cough, new loss of taste or smell, or shortness of breath within the past 5 days;
  • Received a positive result from a COVID-19 test that tested saliva or used a nose or throat swab(not a blood test) in the past 5 days.
  • As always, please keep your children home if they are sick. We also strongly recommend that if someone in the household who has very close contact with your child (a sibling or parent) tests positive, you consider keeping your child home for a few days, even if they test negative.  Then test them a few days later before sending them back to school.  This is not required but is recommended.

Vaccination Portal

Families are encouraged to record their student’s vaccination status in the DOE’s Covid-19 Vaccination Portal. Submitting this information will support New York City’s pandemic response and recovery efforts, and help ensure that DOE schools and buildings remain safe places for all students and staff.

  • Students and their families can access the Vaccine Portal with the student’s DOE account login credentials (email and password).
  • Visit the DOE Student Account page or help setting up or accessing your child’s account

Scroll down for info on lice.

Fire Drills/In School Safety Drills

We conduct frequent fire drills and in-school safety drills to make sure we are prepared in the event of an emergency.

Medical Issues/Health Alerts

We have one full time school nurse and one Health Assistant who are available to provide medical service to students and to work with teachers. The nurse’s office is in the back half of Room 123. The nurse also does in-class or small group prevention work, such as asthma information classes. Staff members, other than the school nurse, are not permitted to administer any medication (with the exception of an Epipen in the case of emergency). Teachers are also not permitted to hold medication for a child to self-administer (other than the Epipen).

According to NYCDOE regulations, students requiring an Epipen in school must have the medication with them at all times, including when they travel to recess/lunch, other classes and on trips. We have staff trained in administering Epipens and renew that training each year. Fortunately, we almost never have to use this medication, but it is important to have it close at hand in an emergency.

We ask that you do the following, if your child has an Epipen:

  • Make sure to complete and return medical documentation to the school nurse. You can find the form HERE
  • Please label the Epipen with your child’s name and picture.
  • Inform your child’s teacher that your child has an Epipen.
  • Send in a fanny pack/hip sack or other small case that your child can use to carry the Epipen in school. It should be something that is hands-free and easy to wear during playtime.

We have about 10 staff members (many of whom are out of classroom staff) who are trained and certified in CPR and the use of the defibrillator. (We have two defibrillators–one located in the lobby close to the doors and one across from the security desk in the minischool.)


The front playground is for the exclusive use of Kindergartners and first graders. Kindergartners play in the front daily; first graders rotate each week between the front and back play yards. The rear yard is used for morning line-up, and throughout the day for play by second through fifth graders. The playgrounds are reserved for school use between 8:30 am and 3:00 pm on school days. Please refrain from ball playing, scooting, skating or biking until 3:15 pm, while the yard is crowded with parents and children at dismissal. Outside of those hours, there is no supervision by school personnel (parents of older children who come to school by themselves in the morning, take note). It is the parent’s/caregiver’s responsibility to make sure their children are playing safely and courteously. Except for students attending before or after school programs in the building, school bathrooms are not available for use before 8:30 and after 4:00. Please refrain from smoking in the playground, or letting children or pets in your charge urinate on school property.

Broken Legs & Arms

In the unfortunate event that your child breaks or fractures a limb requiring accommodations, you must bring in the necessary forms before your child will be allowed to attend class. This applies to a fracture of the arm, wrist or shoulder, or of any limb where crutches must be used. In order to prevent delays and last-minute scrambles for forms, please be sure to do the following:

Email your child’s teacher and Assistant Principal Liz McCormack to arrange accommodations before your child returns to school.

Fill out a 504 form and have it signed by the doctor. You can download one here. If your child also requires medication (including ibuprofen or acetaminophen), find a full list of health forms here.

Get an 012-S report from the school nurse, to be filled out by your orthopedist and returned.

Bring in a copy of the medical release form from your doctor or ER, if you have one. This report can serve to readmit your child to school while other paperwork is being processed.

School Safety Committee

Please note that we have a school safety committee that includes staff and parents and meets monthly. If you have any concerns that you would like the committee to address, please contact Elizabeth McCormack at


Unfortunately, head lice is an unpleasant fact of school life. They are neither a health hazard nor a sanitary problem, but they are a force to be reckoned with. If there is a case of head lice in a class, a letter will be sent home informing you of that fact and giving suggestions for their removal. A small resource library with books and videotapes directed to families dealing with lice is available in the Parent Center.

Here is the official, NYC Department of Education, information about head lice.  Please be sure to scroll down to find links with additional information:

The Center for Disease Control official site: 

A slideshow to help identify lice and nits:


  3. TermiNITor


What are they?

  • Head lice are small insects with six legs usually the size of a sesame seed (the seeds on burger buns).
  • They live on or very close to the scalp and don’t wander far down the hair shafts for very long.
  • They can only live on human beings; you can’t catch them from animals.
  • Nits are not the same thing as lice. Lice are the insects which move around the head. Nits are egg cases laid by lice, stuck on to hair shafts; they are smaller than a pin head, slightly oblong and are an opaque white.
  • Lice are fast-moving and you may see nits without seeing lice. If you are not already treating your child’s head for lice and find nits, treat as though there are lice. When you have gotten rid of all the lice and picked nits out, some empty cases may stay stuck to the hair until it grows out.
  • Anybody can get head lice.
  • Head lice infections are caught from close family and friends in the home and community, generally not from the school.
  • Spread of head lice requires direct head-to-head or coat-to-coat contact.  They can’t swim, fly, hop or jump.
  • The best way to stop infection is for families to learn how to check their own heads. This way they can find any lice before they have a chance to breed.
  • Instruct children not to share hats, combs, brushes, etc.
  • All bedding, towels, and clothing from the infected individual should be cleaned with soap and hot water and placed in a dryer for at least 20 minutes to help kill any remaining lice. Dry-clean all clothes that need to be dry-cleaned. Seal the infested individual’s stuffed toys in a plastic bag and leave them for 10 days to allow all lice to die of starvation. Dispose of or soak combs and hairbrushes in rubbing alcohol or the medicated shampoo used to kill lice. Throw out any hair accessories, such as hair elastics and ribbons. Thoroughly vacuum carpets and upholstered furniture.
  • Pets cannot become infested with head and body lice, so no precaution is required.
  • KEEP CHECKING AFTER  TREATMENT. One visit to the lice lady won’t do it. To prevent re-infestation, you must check your child’s scalp EVERY DAY after treatment. If you still see nits and/or lice, re-treat your child’s head. Keep checking/treating until a week has gone by without any sign of nits or lice. In between chemical treatments, use a thick white conditioner such as Pantene (some families prefer mayonnaise or olive oil), which will trap any remaining lice or nits during the comb-out. Although we know this is time-consuming, the only way to stop the bugs in their tracks is to be thorough when treating your child and the carpets/upholstery/bedding, etc. in the home, and then to be diligent in post-treatment follow-up.

Returning to School

  • Students may return to school the day after treatment for head lice as long as there are no live lice upon re-inspection by school personnel.
  • Students found to have live head lice will be excluded from school.
  • Consult your healthcare provider if you are having difficulties getting rid of your child’s head lice.


Fine tooth combing ‑ how to do it
  • Wash the hair well and then dry it with a towel. The hair should be damp, not dripping.
  • Make sure there is good light. Daylight is best. Have a supply of paper towels on hand for anything that comes out with the comb.
  • Applying a thick white conditioner will help loosen the grip of any nits or lice during the comb-out.
  • Comb the hair with an ordinary comb.
  • Start with the teeth of the fine tooth comb touching the skin of the scalp at the top of the head. Draw the comb carefully towards the edge of the hair.
  • Look carefully at the teeth of the comb in good light.
  • Do this over and over again from the top of the head to the edge of the hair in all directions, working round the head.
  • Do this for several minutes. It takes at least 10 to 15 minutes to do it properly for each head.
  • If there are head lice, you will find one or more lice on the teeth of the comb.
  • Head lice are little insects with moving legs. They are often not much bigger than a pin head, but may be as big as a sesame seed (the seeds on burger buns). Nits are very small and droplet-shaped, are attached to the hair shaft an inch or two past the scalp and do not shake off like dandruff.

If you have found a living louse or numerous nits:

  • Check the heads of all the people in your home.
  • Treat those who have nits or lice.
  • Treat them all at the same time
  • Put the lotion on to dry hair.
  • Use the lotion in a well ventilated room or in the open air.
  • Part the hair near the top of the head, put a few drops on to the scalp and rub it in. Part the hair a bit further down the scalp and do the same again. Do this over and over again until the whole scalp is wet.
  • You don’t need to put lotion down long hair any further than where you would put a pony‑tail band.
  • Let the lotion dry on the hair. Some lotions can catch fire, so keep well away from flames, cigarettes, stoves, and other sources of heat. Don’t use a hair dryer.
  • Repeat the treatment for everyone within seven days in the same way with the same lotion.
  • Check all the heads a day or two after the second treatment. If you still find living, moving lice or many nits, ask your healthcare provider for advice.

For more information and resources, please visit