The most notable change is that there will be no more snow days, with students expected to log in from home if it becomes necessary to close school buildings.
"The DOE will shift all students to remote instruction in lieu of canceling schools due to severe weather conditions," the Department of Education said.
Another big change is that Election Day will be a remote learning day for students as well.
The 2021-22 school year will begin on September 13 and, per state law, includes 180 days in session, inclusive of four staff development days during where students will not be in attendance.
"Over the years, the DOE introduced additional holiday observances as part of the school calendar, and has contractual obligations which limit the number of possible school days," the plan reads. "The pandemic has also created the ability to switch seamlessly to remote learning, and DOE central and schools have distributed hundreds of thousands of devices to ensure that learning can continue remotely during school closures. To ensure we are meeting the required 180 days in session we are adopting two practices from this past school year."
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There are also two changes in the observed holidays this year. First, the non-attendance day on October 11, 2021, will be in observance of Indigenous Peoples' Day, with Columbus Day removed from the calendar.
That decision was quickly blasted by Republican lawmakers.
City Council members Joe Borelli and Steve Matteo and Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis issued a joint statement demanding the Department of Education restore the name "Columbus Day" to the holiday, claiming it was removed without any public announcement or fanfare.
"Columbus Day has been celebrated in the United States since 1972, marking the 300th anniversary of Columbus' sailing," the wrote. "The holiday, which venerates celebrated Genovese explorer Christopher Columbus, has been observed by Italian-Americans since 1892 when President Benjamin Harrison declared the day a holiday following the lynching of 11 Italian immigrants in the City of New Orleans. Nearly 1 million Italian Americans reside in New York City and 5th Avenue is home to the largest Columbus Day parade in the country. Borelli, Malliotakis and Matteo believe Indigenous Peoples' Day can be celebrated without a change to Columbus Day."
In response, the DOE updated its calendar to celebrate October 11 as Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People's Day.
"Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People's Day will celebrate the contributions and legacies of Italian Americans and recognize that Native people are the first inhabitants of the land that became our country," the DOE said in a statement. "By including these holidays on our calendar we are honoring the past, present, and future contributions of Indigenous communities and Italian Americans."
Secondly, the non-attendance day on June 20, 2022, will be in observance of Juneteenth.
"We know nothing replaces in-person instruction, and we currently have more students learning in our schools than any other city or system," the DOE said. "Our goal for the fall is to have all of our children safely return to full-time in-person learning on September 13th, and we look forward to sharing more information over the spring and summer."
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