Coronavirus Updates

Growing Up NYC aims to connect New Yorkers with the resources they need in the City. As news about coronavirus (COVID-19) changes, the resources below can help guide you and your family with up-to-date and accurate information and support.


We update this page daily. To get more regular updates:

  • Text “COVID” to 692-692 
  • Para español, envíe un mensaje de texto con la palabra “COVIDESP” al 692-692
  • Download the Notify NYC app

General Information

For information on how to help stop the spread of coronavirus, available resources, and other updates, visit the NYC Health Department (DOH) website

About COVID-19

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause illnesses ranging from mild colds, to more serious illnesses such as pneumonia. The newly found type of coronavirus, called COVID-19, can be spread from person to person.

COVID-19 has spread widely in New York City, and everyone in NYC should act as if they have been exposed to COVID-19. That means you should monitor your health closely and stay home. To learn more, see the Coronavirus Factsheet.

Health care and testing

Symptoms of COVID-19 commonly include: 

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat 
  • Shortness of breath. 

Most people with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms and fully recover without complications. Less commonly, COVID-19 may be more serious.

 Here’s what to do if you’re sick: 

  • Stay home at all times. If you don’t feel better in three to four days, consult your health care provider. Call, text, use telemedicine or use your patient portal to contact your physician.
  • Do not go to the emergency department or other places to seek health care if you’re not seriously ill. Stay home and keep health care access available for others with more severe illness.
  • If you need help getting medical care, call 311. You can get care in NYC regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.

Stopping the spread of coronavirus

New Yorkers working together can slow the spread of COVID-19 in NYC. The NYC Health Department recommends that you protect yourself and others by:

  • Staying home. All New Yorkers—healthy or sick—must stay home. You should only leave your home for essential tasks, such as work, getting groceries and supplies, or needed medical care. You may also leave for exercise alone. Try to use delivery services when possible.
  • Washing your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds every time, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Not touching your face unless you recently washed your hands.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Do not use your hands.
  • Not shaking hands. Instead, wave or elbow bump.
  • Older adults and those with chronic health conditions, such as lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or a weakened immune system, are most at risk. If that applies to you, avoid all unnecessary gatherings and events.

Immigrants and public charge

On March 13, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that seeking or using healthcare services related to COVID-19 will NOT be considered under the public charge rule, even if the services are Medicaid-funded. Learn more about public charge and this alert.

Anyone who needs help during the COVID-19 crisis should seek care without fear, regardless of immigration status or ability to pay for health services. To learn more about health care and testing, refer to the section above. 


NYC public schools are temporarily closed. The NYC Department of Education (DOE) has started a Remote Learning Model until Spring Recess on April 20. Students won’t go to class at school buildings during this time.

For more information, visit the DOE website

Learning at home

Remote learning has launched for grades K–12. Learn more about remote learning, including how to access resources and digital tools, on the DOE website.

You can also get DOE-specific Learn at Home instructional resources in English for students in grades Pre-K through 12, including for students with disabilities. 

Remote learning devices 

To support remote learning for students, the DOE is lending internet-enabled iPads. If you’d like to request a device for a NYC student in your family, please fill out the Request Form

The DOE will use the contact information you provide to get in touch with you to discuss when and where you can pick up a device. Priority will be given to students most in need, and all devices are granted on a temporary basis and will later need to be returned. There is a limit of one device per student.

Free meals

All NYC children can get three free meals a day from the NYC DOE. Meals are distributed at more than 400 sites across the city from 7:30am – 1:30pm. Find a location near you.

How to pick up a meal

  • No registration, ID, or documentation required
  • All three meals a day may be picked up at the same time
  • No dining space is available, so meals must be eaten away from school
  • Parents and guardians can pick up food for their children

Learn more on the DOE’s website.

Vulnerable populations and children of frontline workers 

Regional Enrichment Centers are available all day for the children of first responders, healthcare workers, transit workers, and the most vulnerable student populations. If you think your child may be eligible, fill out an enrollment form.

Learn more about the centers on the DOE’s website.

Internet access at home

Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K–12 and college students who don’t already have a Spectrum broadband subscription. You can get any service level up to 100 Mbps. New student households do not need to pay installation fees. To enroll, call Spectrum at 1-844-488-8395.

After school and enrichment programs

All DYCD-funded programs based in NYC DOE schools, including Beacon, are closed until schools reopen. 

More then 60 Cornerstone and COMPASS Center-based programs are modified or open, providing food distribution through partnerships with DOE Grab and Go Meals, Food Bank, FreshDirect, and the existing food being delivered to centers. Open centers are also an information resource for their communities. 

DYCD-funded afterschool programs are conducting virtual check-in and/or remote learning wherever possible.


Emergency food

If you need emergency food assistance, call the Emergency Food Hotline at 866-888-8777 or 311 to find a local pantry or kitchen. There is no income limit for emergency food. Learn more

Free meals for K–12 students

All NYC children can get three free meals a day from the NYC DOE. Meals are distributed at more than 400 sites across the city from 7:30am – 1:30pm. Find a location near you.

How to pick up a meal

  • No registration, ID, or documentation required
  • All three meals a day may be picked up at the same time
  • No dining space is available, so meals must be eaten away from school
  • Parents and guardians can pick up food for their children

Learn more on the DOE’s website.

SNAP benefits online

You can now use your Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to shop online for fresh produce and groceries and have them delivered. Use your EBT card at these online stores in NYC:

Note: You can’t use SNAP benefits to pay delivery fees. Be sure to confirm that an online store delivers to your home address.

Cash and Benefits

HRA offices and appointments

As of now, HRA’s offices remain open and ready to serve those in need, but all in-person appointments are canceled. 

ACCESS HRA is a great way to skip a trip to the HRA offices. For those applying for or renewing SNAP benefits or Cash Assistance, you can submit the application/recertification form and upload pictures of documents. After submitting, clients can call anytime Monday–Friday, 8:30am to 5pm for a telephone interview.

Cash assistance

Apply for Cash Assistance or Emergency One Time Assistance with the ACCESS HRA website and mobile app. An HRA staff member will call to you complete your eligibility interview.

Eligibility screener

Screen and determine your eligibility for over 30+ City, State, and Federal level benefits in minutes on ACCESS NYC.


Domestic violence

In an emergency, dial 911. Call the NYC Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-621-4673, TTY 866-604-5350 (if you are hearing impaired) to speak with a counselor. Learn more about how Family Justice Centers can help.

Section 8 

NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Section 8 voucher holders having trouble paying rent because of income loss should email or send a fax to 212-863-5299.

Preventing Homelessness

Homebase can help you develop a plan to overcome an immediate housing crisis and achieve housing stability. Call 311 or visit the HRA website to learn more and get help.

Emotional Support

An infectious illness outbreak can be stressful to you and your loved ones. It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, sad, anxious, and afraid, or to experience other symptoms of distress, such as trouble sleeping. To reduce your stress and to manage the situation more resiliently, try to remain positive, remind yourself of your strengths, connect with friends and loved ones and use healthy coping skills. 

If your symptoms of stress become overwhelming, reach out for support and help. You can contact NYC Well, a confidential 24/7 helpline, staffed by trained counselors. They can provide brief counseling and referrals to care in over 200 languages.

If you’re worried about how your child is dealing with the stress of COVID-19, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on managing stress and anxiety

Talking with Kids about COVID-19

If you’re looking for tips on how to have a conversation with kids about coronavirus, check out the guide from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The guide recommends that adults:

  • Remain calm and reassuring
  • Make yourself available to listen and to talk
  • Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma
  • Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online
  • Provide information that is honest and accurate
  • Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs

Virtual Events

Keep your kids engaged and active whole at home with these virtual events and activities.

Updated March 26, 2020