Reopen News: Nearly 300,000 NYC families opt for all-remote learning

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Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Nearly 300,000 NYC families opt for all-remote learning
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The city's plan calls for a mix of in-person and remote learning with students taking turns in classrooms when they return in the fall, but more than a quarter of students have dec

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The city's plan calls for a mix of in-person and remote learning with students taking turns in classrooms when they return in the fall, but more than a quarter of students have decided to go with the all-remote option instead.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday said that 74%, more than 700,000 students, will be taking part in the city's blended learning plan. 26% of students will be taking part in remote-only digital learning. He said that is consistent with the survey families took earlier this summer.

About 15% of teachers have requested to be a remote teacher, and the city is working to approve them. The rest will take part in the in-person blended learning plan.

"Students will be learning five days a week no matter where they are," New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said.

RELATED: These New York schools must still submit reopening plans

New York City submitted a 109-page reopening plan to the state on Friday night. Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday acknowledged the supplemental submission and said it was being reviewed.

But, will the state approve of the plan for the 1,800 schools?

The plan calls for a mix of in-person and remote learning, with students taking turns in classrooms when they return in the fall.

It also calls for random temperature checks for students and teachers, a 14-day quarantine for anyone who tests positive.

That plan has looked exceedingly ambitious as other large school systems have backed away from in-person instruction in recent weeks. Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Houston, among other places, all announced they would start the school year with students learning remotely.

Students and families will learn what their blended learning plan schedule will be starting next Monday, August 17th, and Chancellor Carranza said that everyone would have their schedules by the following week of August 24th.

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And while Governor Cuomo has said all schools can safely hold in-person classes, some teachers are concerned about poor ventilation. Some buildings don't have HVAC systems and there are fears the virus could easily spread in those enclosed spaces.

Chancellor Carranza said that any classrooms deemed inadequate would not be used. Mayor Bill de Blasio also said that classrooms would have their windows open for ventilation whenever possible.

Another set back according to some teachers is that they say each school should have a nurse on staff. Mayor de Blasio said they hope to have them in place along with Test & Trace Corps. workers in each school by September.

RELATED: Schools reopening plan 'unsafe,' teachers and students say

"We are going to be looking like hawks at the numbers and if the numbers of the positivity rate starts inching upwards and if it gets to 3 percent, we will remote learn for the entire system. New York City had real trouble with remote learning. They had trouble getting all kids access to iPads and the internet," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

As for the remote learning aspect of the plan, the city purchased 321,000 iPads equipped with T-mobile data that do not require Wi-Fi.

At least one council member questioned why the city didn't buy cheaper, fully functioning laptops instead. One teacher said to Eyewitness News that he found the online digital learning software and programs difficult to use.

"We've learned a lot since March," Chancellor Carranza said. "There are multiple opportunities for teachers to use different platforms." He pointed to a "Teach Hub" on the city's DOE website.

The First Deputy Chancellor of Schools Donald Conyers said that the city is,"working with remote learning champions with borough city wide offices and dispatching them, so that if a school has an issue we will be able to tap in with the school and provide support."

More than one million public school students in New York City had their last day of in-class instruction on March 13, just as waves of sick people were beginning to hit city hospitals. All schools statewide were closed by March 18.

The outbreak, while reduced, is not over in New York. Around 10,000 New York City residents tested positive for the virus in July.

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