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NYC Schools to Offer Mix of In-Person and Remote Learning This Fall

Schools Chancellor Richards Carranza outlined the reopening plan for NYC public schools in the fall at City Hall today. (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

July 8, 2020 By Allie Griffin

More than one million New York City children will return to the classroom for the new school year this fall — but only part time.

The children will not return to the classroom full time, but will be offered a mix of in-person and online learning to ensure proper social distancing, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced today.

Most students will attend classes in person either two or three days a week and will spend the remainder of school days learning online.

Carranza outlined the plan at City Hall today, which will be sent to the state for approval by July 31.

“For the 2020-2021 school year, it will look different,” Carranza said.

“We know that we cannot maintain proper physical distancing and have 100 percent of our students in school buildings five days a week,” he said, adding that it’s not physically possible.

About nine to 12 students will be allowed per classroom — and gyms, auditoriums and cafeterias will be converted to classrooms to create more space.

Each school will follow a different weekly schedule based on the building capacity when social distancing measures are in effect.

Children enrolled in schools that can accommodate at least half of their student body under social distancing guidelines will attend classes in-person two to three days a week.

(NYC Dept of Education)

Students who attend schools that can accommodate roughly one third of their student body under the guidelines will have classes one to two days a week on a rotating basis.

(NYC Dept of Education)

Some groups of students, such as those with disabilities, may have in-person classes five days a week, Carranza said. However, the details are still being fleshed out.

School principals will chose the model that works best for their students based on their building size. Students will be provided with their schedules in August.

Families can also completely opt out of in-person lessons and continue with full remote learning at any time. These families will have the option to switch back to in-person classes on a quarterly basis.

But most parents want their kids back in the classroom. About 75 percent of families want their children back at school, according to a Department of Education survey of 400,000 public school parents and students conducted in June.

In Queens — where many school districts have faced overcrowding in classrooms for years — the lack of space could present a big challenge.

“Schools that are historically overcrowded will particularly struggle because they’re only going to be able to use so much space,” de Blasio said.

Students, teachers, administrators and other employees must wear masks at all times. School buildings will be deep cleaned nightly.

“Basically this blended model, this kind of split-schedule model is what we can do under current conditions,” de Blasio said. “And then let’s hope and pray, science helps us out with a vaccine, with a cure, a treatment — the things that will allow us to go farther.”

The city’s schools reopening plan must be approved by state officials. Governor Andrew Cuomo will announce whether schools across the state will reopen for the academic year in the first week of August, he announced today.

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