Oct. 26, 2020 By Allie Griffin
New York City public school families will have just one chance to opt into in-person classes for the rest of the school year — beginning next week.
Families who had opted into fully-remote classes, but now want to switch back to the city’s blended learning model — in which students attend classes in person on some weekdays and remotely on other days — can do so anytime from Nov. 2 through Nov. 15, the city announced Monday.
“The pandemic has caused so much uncertainty in every aspect of life and for families who needed a bit more time to feel comfortable sending their children back, now is that time,” Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said.
The two-week period, however, is the only time families can switch back to the hybrid class structure, he announced.
The announcement is a departure from what the Department of Education (DOE) had previously said — that parents would be able to enroll their children back into blended learning on a quarterly basis.
Carranza said the department limited the enrollment to one window to avoid confusion.
“This will be the only time to opt in, which is a change from what we originally had said over the summer,” he said during a press conference today. “We think this is better for the sake of stability for all students, for families and educators.”
The DOE extended the opt-in window to 14 days from what was originally planned since it will be the only time parents can decide to send their children back to school buildings.
Meanwhile parents can enroll their children to full remote learning at any time. More and more parents have been doing so since classes began in September.
Less than half of the 1.1 million New York City public school students are now enrolled in blended learning.
Carranza said the number of in-person learners is lower than the DOE had anticipated as many families may have been hesitant to send their kids back into classrooms initially.
He said the numbers now show that public schools are safe and can give parents a sense of security to send their children back to school buildings.
The COVID-19 positivity rate at city public schools is just .15 percent, according to the latest data, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the press briefing.
“We are seeing more and more evidence of just how safe our schools are and more and more evidence that kids are benefitting from in-person education,” de Blasio said.
Parents can enroll their children into blended learning by filling out an online form, beginning next week.
“Now that we’ve been able to show how our schools are working, it’s time for an opt-in period,” de Blasio said. “It’s time to give parents and kids a chance to come back into school if they’re all remote right now.”
Students who enroll in blended learning during the two-week window will return for their first day of in-person classes between Nov. 30 and Dec. 7, according to a DOE spokesperson.