New York University’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing and the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development will host a virtual event exclusively for members of the media about the risks and challenges of sending children back to school this fall.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Join us on Tuesday, August 4 at 3:30 p.m. ET for an exclusive virtual conversation with a panel of education and health experts about the risks and challenges of sending children back to school—or keeping them home—this fall during the COVID-19 pandemic.

School districts across the country are weighing and opting for different approaches–virtual learning, in-person schooling, and hybrid models—that aim to keep their communities safe while providing the best educational experiences possible. Parents are faced with the difficult decision of risking sending their children to school, keeping them home while juggling work and virtual learning, or exploring new (and unequal) solutions like “pandemic pods.”

This panel will take questions and address these and a range of other topics including: how and whether students and teachers can realistically safely return to school in-person this fall; what adjustments need to be made to schedules, spaces, and curricula; how technology and remote learning impact education; and inequalities that have emerged during remote learning. Panelist Donna Hallas of the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing will discuss her new analysis in Contemporary Pediatrics about the steps schools need to take to plan for reopening and what measures will lower the risk for students and school personnel.


Cheri Fancsali, PhD
Deputy Director at the Research Alliance for New York City Schools

Fancsali has over two decades of experience in research and evaluations of school- and community-based educational programs that target underserved youth, with a strong focus on teacher effectiveness and professional development, school reform initiatives, STEM, computer science education, afterschool programs, and socio-emotional learning. She began her career as an early childhood and special education teacher in New York City. As deputy director of the Research Alliance, she now plays a role in leading research on topics related to the city’s public schools – from homeless students to evaluation of the city’s Computer Science For All initiative.

Donna M. Hallas, PhD, CPNP, PMHS, FAANP, FAAN
Clinical Professor and Program Director for the Pediatrics Nurse Practitioner Program, NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing

Hallas is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner and pediatric mental health specialist focused on improving health and behavioral health outcomes for infants, children, adolescents and young adults within a family-centered framework. She has led studies on vaccine hesitancy among new mothers and pregnant women, improving the social-emotional development of toddlers, improving maternal confidence in caring for toddlers, the development of adolescents whose mothers died during their pre-teen and teenage years, and oral health care in young children. She was the principal investigator for a $2.1 million HRSA grant and designed educational programs for nurse practitioner preceptors in primary care and school-based health centers.

David Kirkland, PhD
Executive Director of the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools; Associate Professor of English and Urban Education at NYU Steinhardt; NYC School Diversity Advisory Group

Kirkland is a leading national scholar and advocate for educational justice. Kirkland's transdisciplinary scholarship explores a variety of equity related topics: school climate and discipline; school integration and choice; culture and education; vulnerable learners; and intersections among race, gender, and education. He currently leads efforts to enhance education options for vulnerable youth throughout New York City – including serving on the NYC School diversity Advisory Group. Kirkland began his career teaching middle and high school students in Michigan and has since been described as an activist, educator and culture critic. He has received many awards for his research and educational advocacy work.

Jan Plass, PhD
Paulette Goddard Chair of Digital Media and Learning Sciences and Program Director for the Educational Communication and Technology Programs at NYU Steinhardt

Plass’ research focuses on using technology and digital games to support learning and cognitive development. Plass is the co-director of both the Games for Learning Institute – a collaboration of nine partner universities with support from Microsoft Research and the Motorola Foundation to advance the design and use of computer games in formal and informal education settings – and the Consortium for Research and Evaluation of Advanced Technology in Education (CREATE) at NYU Steinhardt. He recently developed three digital games to help children and adults improve their cognitive skills.

The panel will be moderated by Sapna Parikh, MD, MPH, assistant director of visual storytelling, NYU Office of Public Affairs. Parikh is also an award-winning New York City based multi-media journalist.

Journalists should RSVP to or by Friday, July 31. Link to attend this online event will only be provided to those who RSVP.

About NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing is a global leader in nursing and health. Founded in 1932, the College offers BS, MS, DNP, and PhD degree programs providing the educational foundation to prepare the next generation of nursing leaders and researchers. NYU Meyers has three programs ranked in the top 10 by U.S. News & World Report and is among the top 10 nursing schools receiving NIH funding, thanks to its research mission and commitment to innovative approaches to healthcare worldwide. More at

About the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Located in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development prepares students for careers in the arts, education, health, media and psychology. Since its founding in 1890, the Steinhardt School's mission has been to expand human capacity through public service, global collaboration, research, scholarship, and practice. To learn more about NYU Steinhardt, visit

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