Greater flexibility for at-home learning as NYC students return to classes

Coronavirus update for NYC
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Public schools will have greater flexibility to allow students who are sick to learn remotely, including meeting teachers during Zoom office hours and getting class materials online, as students return to classes today.

Attendance has been under 80% for weeks, with Friday's public school attendance just 75.22% Friday.

In response, the Education Department updated its attendance policy for students Friday night, allowing the Zoom meetings and giving other online options, like obtaining class materials, as it continues to discuss with the teachers union future remote learning options.

Mayor Eric Adams affirmed the change during his first City Hall coronavirus briefing Tuesday morning, but made clear the policies only apply to students who are home sick with COVID.

"That is not for the general population, and we want to be clear on that," Adams said.

Despite public school attendance consistently below 80% since before winter break, Schools Chancellor David Banks said the numbers have been slowly ticking up since then.

"We are trending upwards, our students are steadily coming back to school," said Banks. "I think you will continue to see the numbers go up over the coming days and weeks."

The city will be reaching out to the parents of the more than 200,000 students who are currently not showing up.

"We are digging down into the numbers to find out those children who are not in school, who are not positive, to see if there are things happening at home that we need to give assistance to," Banks said.

The mayor's message to any families still arbitrarily keeping their students home was clear: Get your children vaccinated and send them to school.

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