Lead-based Paint Safety in Schools

Translated Letters to Families

Please see the family website Lead-based Paint Safety page for the translated letters to send home to families and share with communities. 

Staff FAQs

My school was on the list of impacted buildings. Should I be worried? 

No. The peeling lead-based paint in all classrooms serving children under age six has been repaired and we are ready for school to begin. You can continue to find the most up-to-date information on impacted buildings at schools.nyc.gov/lead-paint-results.

What is DOE’s testing protocol? Is it aligned with Health Code requirements?

Surveys for peeling paint and the repair of any lead-based paint are conducted according to the requirements of the New York City Health Code. All schools serving children under six years old, constructed in 1985 or earlier, are visually inspected by custodial engineers who flag for testing any peeling paint found in classrooms. In addition, at the end of the 2018–19 school year, we did another round of inspections on all 3-K, Pre-K, Kindergarten, and LYFE Center classrooms, and tested any peeling or damaged paint in these classrooms for lead. Any lead-based peeling paint was addressed by EPA certified contractors.

I worked at an EarlyLearn program this summer. Did you test those programs too? 

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) inspects community-based child care programs, including former EarlyLearn programs. The DOHMH requires that programs be free of lead-based paint or that any lead-based paint be in good repair (that is, not peeling, chipped, or cracked). DOHMH conducts regular inspections to check whether there is peeling paint and conducts follow-up inspections to confirm any peeling paint has been repaired. Visit NYC Health Child Care Connect to find information about your community-based child care program’s inspection history.

Are you reaching out to families whose children have been in impacted classrooms?

Yes. The DOE has asked principals to reach out to all families of students under six that occupied these classrooms last year, or during the first few days of summer. The original letter alerting families of test results and next steps is available in 10 different languages and can be accessed online at: schools.nyc.gov/about-us/reports/lead-based-paint.

Do I need to be concerned about lead in my school’s drinking water? 

No. New York City tap water is of the highest quality and arrives from upstate reservoirs that are virtually lead-free. The DOE tests the water used in schools for drinking and cooking, and turns off any fixture if the testing shows elevated lead levels until repairs are made and the water tests show there is no more elevation. State law requires the DOE to test the water for lead every five years. All schools have been, or will be, retested from fall 2018 through 2020.

What should I do if I’m worried that I or a student has been exposed to lead poisoning? 

Anyone concerned about lead exposure should discuss their health history with a doctor to determine if blood lead testing is appropriate. To secure free testing or to find a doctor, call 311.

I don’t want to be at this school. Can I transfer to another program? 

All classrooms that were identified to have deteriorated lead-based paint have been successfully remediated and cleared for occupancy. However, if you have this concern, UFT staff can apply to a position at a different school while the Open Market Transfer System (OMT) is open. Though the system is currently closed as of August 7, 2019, you can still apply for an administrative transfer. Staff should be advised that administrative transfers require both sending and receiving principal agreement. For more information about administrative transfers, please review the Transfer Processes for Employees in HR Connect (requires DOE email credentials).

If parents inquire about transferring their children due to concerns, refer them to a Family Welcome Center to explore available school options or have them call the NYC DOE’s Parent Support Line (P311). P311 can be reached by calling (718) 935-2009, Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 PM.

Additional Resources

For more information about lead safety in the Department of Education, go to: schools.nyc.gov/about-us/reports/lead-based-paint. For information about lead and prevention programs at the New York City Health Department, go to: www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/lead-poisoning-prevention.page. For information about New York State Department of Health Lead Poisoning Prevention, go to: health.ny.gov/environmental/lead/.

For more information on blood lead testing and ways to reduce a child’s risk of exposure to lead, see “What Your Child’s Blood Lead Test Means” (available in 10 languages). 

Room Change Request Form 

If you have recently added sections to 3-K, Pre-K, Kindergarten, First Grade, LYFE, or D75 students under six years old, and as a result do not have enough classrooms to cover your required number of sections for these age groups, please fill out the Room Change Request Form with your Custodian Engineer and send to PaintTesting@schools.nyc.gov immediately.

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