Latest update on NYC school reopening plans; and why many parents still appear undecided

August 10, 2020

Dear friends–

On Friday, the NYC Department of Education posted the latest version of their reopening plans. It contained two big revisions from the one previously released: Now schools will be able apply for exemptions from having to provide any in-person learning , and/or give preference to certain vulnerable populations to receive this opportunity.

Many public health experts and epidemiologists agree that NYC schools seem to be in the best position of any large district in the country to offer in-person learning, with a COVID positivity rate of only about one percent – the lowest we are likely to see for a year or more, until there is an effective and widely available vaccine.

However, many parents still have legitimate concerns, including the substandard ventilation in many schools and the city’s inadequate testing regime, with results taking up to 15 days.

Despite the Mayor’s spin today that more than 700,000 students chose to engage in some form of in-person learning in the fall, it appears that fewer than half NYC parents registered any preference on the online survey, with 264,000 parents opting into remote learning and 131,000 blended learning. Many families seem to be waiting to see what the plan is for their own children’s schools before making a final decision.

Principals are supposed to finalize their own plans and school schedules by August 14, in consultation with their School Leadership Teams.

In any case, the Mayor should be giving more support to schools to allow for safer outdoor learning, and the Governor should be purchasing testing kits to enable faster results than the ones currently available.

More discussion and analysis on all these issues on our blog.  Please feel free to comment there on what you’ve chosen to do, and if you’re still undecided, what information or new developments might help you make a choice.

Yours, Leonie

PS For a thoughtful, phase-in plan to reopen schools that could serve as a potential model for others, see this proposal from the Urban Assembly Maker Academy.

Categories Newsletters, Updates | Tags: | Posted on August 11, 2020

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