New York City's largest charter school network staying all-remote

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City's largest charter school network announced Thursday that it will stay all remote until December.

Success Academy, which operates 47 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens and enrolls 20,000 students, cited concerns about building readiness and said social distancing eliminates "many of the benefits of attending school in person."

All students have been equipped with personal laptops or tablets and are receiving a full schedule of live instruction five days a week via Zoom.

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Classes started on August 4 for high schoolers and August 24 for K-8 students, and all work, from math and writing to assessments and homework, is fully digital.

Success Academy had announced in July that it would open school with a hybrid plan that combined on-campus and remote learning, but that the network changed plans when the city restricted building access. Officials retooled the model and opened school with what they called "Remote 2.0," a plan that includes core academic subjects as well as electives such as chess, art, dance, and fitness.

The intent was to transition to hybrid once buildings were accessible, but as regulations evolved and with building readiness still an issue, Success Acadmemy concluded that continuing to be remote through at least December would provide the best learning experience for students.

"Our Remote 2.0 is 'real school' with a full schedule of live instruction five days a week, and we're putting all our energy into making this experience as rich and engaging as possible," founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz said. "The logistical complexities of keeping our community safe would greatly compromise the student learning experience and limit so many of the interactions kids love about school."

Officials say:
--Scholars will have the same teachers every day
--Scholars will receive at least five hours of live instruction daily (somewhat less on Wednesdays, which are half days for K-8 students), not only in their core academic areas but also in scholar talent electives such as chess, dance, choir, theater, art, debate and fitness.
--K-8 families have the option of free virtual after school programming with fun and quirky courses from creating comics and learning magic tricks to sewing and coding.
--Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts has more than 21 clubs and teams, meeting virtually.

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The Brooklyn Prospect Charter School system also announced it is opening all remote, on Thursday, September 10, while hybrid learning will not begin before October at the earliest.

However, one school, Windsor Terrace Elementary, will be starting hybrid on September 10 for kindergarten only.

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