New York City public school students enrolled in blended learning will be switched to remote only classes if they do not attend the first week of in-person lessons after the Department of Education’s opt-in date for the city’s hybrid model ends on Nov. 30.
Out of the city’s 1.1 million public school students, about 300,000 are participating in Mayor de Blasio’s blended learning model, in which students receive live or online instruction in school buildings one to three days a week, DOE officials reported earlier this week.
That number is strikingly smaller than what DOE officials and the mayor led the public to believe would attend in-person classes claiming that the majority of parents wanted their children back in buildings. In August, Mayor de Blasio said that he anticipated over 700,000 students would return to school buildings once in-person classes resumed in September.
And from August to mid-October the DOE released weekly remote learning and blended learning enrollment data that showed the number of students enrolled in remote and blended which did not properly reflect general interest in in-person learning, parents said, since the department automatically enrolled students into hybrid learning unless a parent or guardian filled out a form requesting fully remote learning for the student online.
Over the summer, City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and Mayor de Blasio repeatedly said families choosing to keep their children home from school would have multiple opportunities to opt into blended learning throughout the school year. But shortly after news broke that in-person classes were experiencing very low attendance, the mayor scrapped the multiple opt-in period option replacing it with a two-week-long which ends Nov. 15.
The idea is the one-time opt-in period will force families still undecided over blended learning to make a decision therefore giving the city a better idea of how to address the current staffing shortage. Schools will begin to roll out new cohort schedules after Nov. 30, according to a DOE spokesperson. After this date, if a student enrolled in blended learning does not show up to school for the first week of classes they will be removed from the blended learning pool and take classes fully remotely.
“We know there are many different circumstances behind a student not being in-person–some families may be quarantining in anticipation of and after the holidays, some may be looking after a sick relative, or caring for a sibling, and these are not reasons to move a student to remote,” said DOE spokesperson Katie O’Hanlon.
“Our schools cannot continue to hold spots for students who aren’t showing up because teachers, resources, and classrooms aren’t being used to their full potential for students who are showing up regularly,” she added.
This story first appeared on amny.com.