Hello TRIO participants, parents and family members,

I hope that everyone is safe and following the safety precautions issued by New York City, State and the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC).  As a result of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) Pandemic, the City University of New York has issued a cancellation of all planned activities on all campuses and recommended that  staff, faculty and other personnel to work remotely from home.  As a result of this mandate, the TRIO programs are actively expanding our services to include remote services for all of our participants and their families.

In order for these efforts to be successful, TRIO staff will be reaching out to you to discover the remote capabilities that exist and your access to the internet, cell service, and the device that these platforms operate on.  Please respond to all questions as soon as possible so that we can begin to implement planned services to the best of our capabilities.

We will continue to provide services as scheduled but remotely and will make ourselves available to you for specific hours during the work day.  It is extremely important that if you are scheduled for a  phone date and time, that you adhere to that specific schedule.  Staff will only be available from 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. and will be adhering to this time-frame.

Currently we are uploading many resources and updated information on a daily basis so that you can remain aware of planned weekly TRIO program services/activities; receive updated information on the COVID-19 virus and steps you need to take to remain safe via specific links; educational resources you can use while at home; and the availability of TRIO teachers and staff to assist you with tutorials and help to understand and complete information on the Google platform, which will be used by the Department of Education in their remote education.

Continue to remain positive, wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds under warm water, stay inside and practice social distancing.  Our combined efforts will help to get us over this epidemic.  We need to follow these rules to prevent the spread of the virus in our communities.  Please call staff cell phones and not the office because no one will be there.  Continually check your e-mail and respond.  We will get through this!


Michelle A. Danvers Foust
Bronx Community College
TRIO, Pre-collegiate Programs

Corona Virus Update

With coronavirus now prevalent in the New York City area, here are some things to know about the illness, and ways to avoid becoming sick.

  • The risk of contracting coronavirus is low, but it can spread from person to person.
  • There are no specific vaccines or treatments for coronavirus.
  • Medication is available for treatment of symptoms; a vaccine is in development.
  • Most people infected may experience mild symptoms; seniors, people with compromised immune systems and patients with pre-existing medical conditions are at higher risk of more serious complications.
  • Symptoms are similar to the flu, and include fever, cough and/or shortness of breath.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds to prevent possible infection.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Only use a face mask if you are sick, are a health care professional, or have a compromised immune system that makes you more susceptible to infection.
  • Do not touch your face or head with unwashed hands.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
  • Clean and disinfect any frequently touched objects or surfaces in your home or office.
  • Stay home if you aren’t feeling well, but seek medical care immediately if you experience symptoms of coronavirus.
  • For questions about coronavirus, call the New York State Health Department hotline at 888-364-3065, or visit the city Department of Health’s website, nyc.gov/coronavirus.

Sources: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York State Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources Available

The Health Information Tool for Empowerment (HITE) is an online directory offering information on more than 5000 health & social services available to low-income, uninsured & underinsured individuals in New York City, Long Island & Westchester.

Free & Open to the public, HITE helps connect users to vital community services quickly and easily.

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March 2020

Delivering on President Trump’s Promise, Secretary DeVos Suspends Federal Student Loan Payments, Waives Interest During National Emergency

Secretary DeVos announced that the office of Federal Student Aid is executing on President Donald J. Trump’s promise to provide student loan relief to tens of millions of borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency.

All borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a period of at least 60 days. In addition, each of these borrowers will have the option to suspend their payments for at least two months to allow them greater flexibility during the national emergency. This will allow borrowers to temporarily stop their payments without worrying about accruing interest.

“These are anxious times, particularly for students and families whose educations, careers, and lives have been disrupted,” said Secretary DeVos. “Right now, everyone should be focused on staying safe and healthy, not worrying about their student loan balance growing. I commend President Trump for his quick action on this issue, and I hope it provides meaningful help and peace of mind to those in need.”

Helping Students Adversely Affected by School Closures, Secretary DeVos Announces Broad Flexibilities for States to Cancel Testing During National Emergency

Secretary DeVos announced students impacted by school closures due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can bypass standardized testing for the 2019-2020 school year. Upon a proper request, the Department will grant a waiver to any state that is unable to assess its students due to the ongoing national emergency, providing relief from federally mandated testing requirements for this school year.

“Students need to be focused on staying healthy and continuing to learn. Teachers need to be able to focus on remote learning and other adaptations,” the Secretary commented. “Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time. Students are simply too unlikely to be able to perform their best in this environment. Our actions today provide turnkey flexibilities for state and local leaders to focus on the immediate needs of their students and educators without worrying about federal repercussions.”

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources Available

Over the last few weeks, the White House, the Department of Education, and other federal agencies have released a significant amount of guidance to support schools, educators, and families regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus). For updated information, please visit Coronavirus.govCDC.gov/coronavirus, and USA.gov/coronavirus.

For education-related information, the Department has established a dedicated Coronavirus webpage (ed.gov/coronavirus), which includes resources for institutions of higher education and for K-12.

  • The website includes guidance for students at institutions of higher education, and covers Coronavirus-related scenarios that could impact students who are enrolled in study abroad programs, students who meet full-time requirements but fall below 12 credit hours, students who are quarantined and miss class, campuses that have temporarily stopped offering ground-based classes to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, and foreign schools that serve Americans who receive Federal financial aid.
  • Also see a letter from the Office for Civil Rights that addresses potential discrimination associated with coronavirus.
  • The Department has provided additional information for families and communities including:
  • Information regarding certain flexibilities under the Every Student Succeeds Act, or “ESSA;”
  • Information regarding services to children with disabilities;
  • fact sheet from our Office for Civil Rights on the risk of Coronavirus in schools while protecting the civil rights of students; and a short webinar on Online Education and Website Accessibility.
  • Information on the Family Education Records Privacy Act, or “FERPA,” as it pertains to K-12 and higher education students.
  • Information for Accrediting Agencies Regarding Temporary Flexibilities Provided to Coronavirus Impacted Institutions or Accrediting Agencies.

The Department will continue to update its website, ed.gov/coronavirus. Please direct education related questions to COVID-19@ed.gov.

Secretary DeVos Launches Innovative Pilot at Four Universities for Students to Access Financial Aid Refunds

Federal Student Aid (FSA) has launched the myFSApay  program pilot for students at Jackson State University, Purdue University, the University of California-Riverside, and the University of Georgia. This innovative pilot will allow students at the participating schools to choose to receive their financial aid refunds—after expenses such as tuition, fees, and room and board are paid—on a prepaid card with a linked online account accessible through the myStudentAid mobile app. Traditionally, when students receive more federal student aid than is billed by their institution, they have been able to receive their remaining financial aid refund via direct deposit, check, or on a prepaid debit card.


Federal Student Aid Features New Customer Experience

Secretary DeVos has delivered on a promise to modernize and personalize the customer experience with federal student aid. On February 24, 2020, the Department announced upgraded changes to StudentAid.gov. The website features new tools that provide borrowers with detailed, personal, and actionable information to make informed decisions about funding their education. FSA is piloting Make A Payment, which allows about 7 million borrowers to schedule monthly payments directly to StudentAid.gov. Other enhanced features include the Aid Summary and Loan Simulator. “We’re delivering on the promise of access to higher education to our nation’s students and their families,” said Mark A. Brown, FSA chief operating officer.

New Civil Rights Initiative to Combat Sexual Assault in K–12 Public Schools

Last month, the Department announced a new Title IX effort to combat the troubling rise of sexual assault in K–12 public schools. It builds on the Department’s work to implement the “Pass the Trash” provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which prohibits schools from simply moving employees who have committed acts of sexual misconduct. Office of Civil Rightswill start nationwide compliance reviews to examine how schools address misconduct complaints under Title IX and will more closely review data on sexual misconduct submitted to the federal government by the nation’s school systems. This new initiative will also include public awareness campaigns, quality reviews of data submitted by school districts on sexual assault offenses, and a nationwide proposal to collect more detailed data on sexual assault and incidents perpetrated by school staff or personnel.

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Registration Open for Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) Reunion

Since 1946, educators have travelled to various overseas locations to provide education for the children of U.S. military families stationed there. The July 2020 reunion in Omaha, Nebraska will include those who have retired from or are still working in the Department of Defense Education Activity system, formerly known as DoDDS.

Parent to Parent

Parent to Parent Program Empowers Parents

The Military Child Education Coalition Parent to Parent program empowers parents to be their child’s strongest advocate on social and educational issues through their Parent Workshops. More than 260,000 parents have attended these workshops since the program’s beginning in 2006. Parent to Parent community-based teams offer workshops with practical ideas, proven techniques, and resources to support military families. This program is staffed with military-connected parents who are professionally trained and sourced with materials based on the latest research on a wide range of topics of interest to military families.

Disabilities Awareness Month

Observance of Disabilities Awareness Month

March is Disabilities Awareness month! DoDEA is committed to increasing awareness and promoting independence, integration, and inclusion of all students with disabilities. DoDEA also proudly recognizes the special education teachers who work hard to make a difference for students with disabilities.

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Annual Overseas Health Nurses Association Nursing Scholarship

The Overseas School Health Nurses Association annually awards a scholarship to a high school senior attending an international or DoDEA high school. A deserving student pursuing a degree in nursing will receive this $1,000 scholarship.

Relationships Key to Student Success

Through a series of questions and answers, Antoine Sharpe, DoDEA’s 2020 Teacher of the Year, shares his passion, enthusiasm, and commitment to teaching and making a positive and lasting difference in young lives. Read more about Sharpe’s story of being a military-connected child and a former DoDEA student as well as his love of teaching.

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Digital Resources Available for Military Families

The Military Child Education Coalition website has essential digital resources for students, parents, and education professionals that are available in multiple formats, including videos, webinars, and downloadable documents.


Highlighting local efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic:  In times of crisis, individuals, businesses, organizations, government entities and others are pulling together to help each other out and Touching Base will be featuring these efforts.

Schools Respond to Students in Time of Need

Montgomery County Schools in Maryland extended meal services amid the coronavirus pandemic immediately after ending classes on Friday, March 13, following Governor Larry Hogan’s announcement of school closures. Officials in the school district worked to ensure continued meal services of lunch and breakfast for all of their students, directing them to specific school meal sites and including a grab-and-go service for convenience and safety amid coronavirus concerns. Further, the school system began operating dinner service to students later in the week. Three days in, Montgomery County had provided more than 18,000 meals and is expanding school site coverage to provide nutritious meals to as many children as possible. By week’s end, three meals per day were offered to any student or any child under 18. Get more information.

Discovery Education Launches New Website to Support Continuity of Learning

Discovery Education has created a comprehensive response to the coronavirus outbreak. The three-pronged approach includes the launch of “Discovery Education Experience—the Viruses and Outbreak Channel” to help teachers communicate to students and parents during this crisis.   Discovery is also offering free access to the Discovery Education Experience for school systems that are not currently subscribed, through the end of the year.

Activities for Students and Families Stuck at Home due to Coronavirus

Balancing work and family is challenging enough in today’s active society, but doing so in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic can be overwhelming. Erin Higgins, a Department of Education staff member at the National Center for Education Research, shares her experiences working from home, addressing her child’s learning needs, and other responsibilities in a blog post. She includes a list of activities to keep children happy, healthy, and engaged — from monitoring screen time via apps to sorting, matching, and identifying colors by helping with the laundry.


Please click the link below for details:




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March 20, 2020


Coronavirus Task Force

Today, in his daily press conference with members of the Coronavirus Task Force, President Trump announced that Secretary DeVos was taking some additional actions to support students, educators, and schools impacted by COVID-19.

First, the Secretary announced that students impacted by school closures due to the pandemic can bypass standardized testing for the 2019-20 school year.  Upon a proper request, the Department will grant a waiver to any state that is unable to assess its students because of the ongoing national emergency, providing relief from federally mandated testing requirements for this school year.  Many states have closed some or all schools.  Therefore, any state unable to assess its students may seek a waiver from federal testing requirements by completing a form.  At the Secretary’s direction, the Department has dramatically streamlined the application process to make it as simple as possible for state leaders who are grappling with many complex issues.

Since student performance, as measured by assessments, is required to be used in statewide accountability systems, any state that receives a one-year waiver may also receive a waiver from the requirement that testing data be used in the statewide accountability system because of the ongoing national emergency.

Second, the Secretary announced that Federal Student Aid (FSA) is executing on the President’s promise to provide student loan relief to tens of millions of borrowers during the national emergency.  All borrowers with federally held student loans will automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a period of at least 60 days.  In addition, each of these borrowers will have the option to suspend their payments for at least two months to allow them greater flexibility during the national emergency.  This will allow borrowers to temporarily stop their payments without worrying about accruing interest.

The Secretary has also directed all federal student loan servicers to grant an administrative forbearance to any borrower with a federally held loan who requests one.  The forbearance will be in effect for a period of at least 60 days, beginning on March 13, 2020.  To request this forbearance, borrowers should contact their loan servicer online or by phone.

And, the Secretary has authorized an automatic suspension of payments for any borrower more than 31 days delinquent as of March 13, 2020, or who becomes more than 31 days delinquent, essentially giving borrowers a safety net during the national emergency.

Some borrowers may want to continue making payments, like those seeking Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or those enrolled in a repayment plan with a manageable monthly payment.  For borrowers continuing to make payments, the full amount of their payment will be applied to the principal amount of their loan once all interest accrued prior to March 13, 2020, is paid.  The Department is working closely with Congress to ensure all student borrowers, including those in income-driven repayment plans, receive needed support at this time.

A borrower who has experienced a change in income can always contact their loan servicer to discuss lowering their monthly payment.

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