Department of Education looks to hire 2,000 extra teachers to aid with blended learning

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The city will hire an additional 2,000 teachers to provide extra classroom support for schools facing staffing shortages due to blended learning, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday.

One of the many fears New York City parents and teachers have over this year’s blended learning, where students will take classes both in school and online, is how teachers are expected to instruct both in-person and remote students simultaneously.

The Department of Education pledged over the summer hire additional substitute teachers and certify new teachers to address the dilemma. The new cohort of educators will be a combination of Department of Education employees currently working in “other roles” and substitute teachers previously working at the city’s regional enrichment centers which closed on Sept. 11.

Regional Enrichment Centers opened in about 170 schools across the city to provide childcare to essential workers during the pandemic. About 2,500 DOE employees worked at the centers, which served about 14,000 students.

The announcement comes a week before students are set to return to in-person classes on Sept. 21. After weeks of pressure from parents, teachers and principals to delay the start of in-person classes and the threat of a job action from the city’s powerful teacher union the United Federation of Teachers, de Blasio gave in to demands. Initially, the school year was scheduled to start on Sept. 10.

But the delay did not impact teachers and principals, who returned to buildings on Sept. 8 to plan for the school year. In the few days since there return, teachers have reported returning to unhygienic conditions and a number of positive COVID-19 cases.

On Monday, de Blasio told reporters that 55 school staff members out 17,000 that received  COVID-19 tests tested positive for the virus.

This story originally appeared on amny.com

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