New York City sets single 'opt-in' period for remote students to switch to in-person learning

Tuesday, October 27, 2020
'Opt-in' period announced for remote NYC students to switch to in-person learning
NJ Burkett reports on the "opt-in" period for New York City students,

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced the only "opt-in" period for students wishing to switch from full-remote to blended learning.

November 2-November 15 is the only time that families will be able to make that change. If they do not, they will be fully remote for the entire school year, according to officials.

For information on opting-in to the blended learning plan the city posted information at

"Now that they've seen school up and running, now that they've gotten a chance to see how schools are running, parents have a lot more information, and I understand parents wanting more information before making that choice. Now that we've been able to show how our schools are working, it's time for an opt-in period, it's time to give parents and students a chance to come back into the schools," Mayor de Blasio said.

The chancellor said this period will be the only time for families to make this change.

So far, 280,000 students are attending school in-person as part of the city's blended learning option.

The city says overall attendance is at 85.3%, lower than they'd like to see. Blended learning students' attendance is 82.9%, while remote-learning students' attendance is 85.5%.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew responded to City Hall's decision to reduce the opportunities for parents to opt-in to blended learning

"City Hall's decision violates the plan New York City filed with the state, and it breaks faith with parents," Mulgrew said. "Families were told they would have an opportunity each quarter to decide whether their child returned to the classroom or remained fully remote. Such a decision undermines parents' trust in the system."

Meantime, students at more than 100 schools in New York City returned to some form of in-person learning Monday.

Youngsters in those schools were barred from in-person learning for more than two weeks as officials imposed restrictions to curb COVID-19 spikes in several cluster zones.

But with COVID infection rates in some of those areas decreasing, the schools are allowed to welcome students back into classrooms.

RELATED: Monthly random COVID testing starts in NYC schools

"All families should participate," Mayor de Blasio said. Parents and guardians will receive the test results for their child and can give their consent online.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says positivity rates in some of those formerly red and orange cluster zones public schools in Queens are now just 0.18 percent.

Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic School in Forest Hills is one of those schools.

But while the red zone is gone in Queens, it does remain in parts of southern Brooklyn, where the infection rate remains higher than the citywide average.

Officials say 45 public schools remain closed there.

ALSO READ: COVID-19 testing begins in New York City's yellow zone schools

Stacey Sager has more on a City Council oversight hearing over COVID testing at New York City schools.

The Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn actually sued the state after Governor Andrew Cuomo mandated strict capacity limits on religious gatherings in the red zones.

A judge sided with the state, but with the positivity rate declining below the state's 2 percent threshold, those former orange and red zones in Queens became yellow zones, which means fewer restrictions.

Businesses and schools there can once again reopen.

"The focus works," Gov. Cuomo said over the weekend. "We can get the positivity rates under control, as we saw with Queens this week. We get the numbers down and we can open up. It's just math."

RELATED: Classrooms shut down in NYC COVID zones, parents up in arms

Josh Einiger has the latest on the hostile backlash over New York's new COVID restrictions.

Click here to view the cluster maps if using the mobile app

Rules in the red area:

-Houses of worship - 25% capacity, 10 people maximum
-Mass gatherings prohibited
-Nonessential businesses closed
-Takeout dining only
-Schools closed

Rules in the orange area:

-Houses of worship - 33% capacity, 25 people maximum
-Mass gatherings - 10 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
-Businesses - Closing high risk nonessential business such as gyms and personal care
-Outdoor dining only with 4 person max per table
- Schools: remote learning only

Rules in the yellow area

-Houses of worship -50% capacity
-Mass gatherings - 25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
-Businesses open
-Indoor and outdoor dining
-Schools - Mandatory weekly testing of students/teachers/staff for in-person classes. Testing will start next week.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new rules to help fight COVID clusters, including closing nonessential businesses in the main and surrounding areas of a hot spot.

Click here find out if you are in a COVID hot spot and what new restrictions apply.

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