Photo credit: NYC Department of Education
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza announced last week that NYC schools would reopen this fall and presented a plan on July 8, 2020 that NYC advocates found inadequate for immigrant families.
“As we approach a new school year, City Hall and the DOE must improve the inconsistent and insufficient communication with immigrant families displayed during the first months of the COVID-19 outbreak, the New York Immigration Coalition said in a statement. “Over-reliance on electronic communication, language barriers, and a lack of clear communication plans have left many immigrant families at the back of the line in terms of devices, academic supports, childcare, and food access. Many of the families facing the most severe disconnect from their schools are also those who are most likely to have low digital and reading literacy and difficulty accessing Wi-Fi and technology.”
The DOE has developed three baseline scheduling models for all schools to use. Separately, the DOE is also providing two additional models for schools serving students with disabilities, known as District 75 schools, that meet their unique programming and student needs.
All families will also have an option to pursue an all-remote schedule next fall. The Department of Education will be sending additional information in the coming weeks on how families can voluntarily select this option. Students will not need a medical reason to register for this option. Families who opt for fully-remote learning will be able to review this decision at specified intervals during the school year, and may opt back into in-person learning if they would like to do so. Additional details on these processes will be announced in the coming weeks.
Taking into account student population and the space available in the building, for schools able to accommodate at least 50% of their student population with physical distancing, students will receive in-person instruction for the same two days every week, as well as every other Monday. This amounts to a total of five days of in-person instruction every two weeks. In this model, there are two in-person student groups and one fully remote student group. Students will participate in remote learning for non-in-person days.
This model is available to elementary, middle, and high schools. For schools able to accommodate at least 50% of their student population with physical distancing, the alternating day model below is the Chancellor’s recommended preference.
Taking into account student population and the space available in the building, for schools able to accommodate roughly one-third of their student population, students will receive in-person instruction 1-2 days per week. This amounts to a total of five days in-person every three weeks. To maximize consistency, one day will be the same each week. Students will participate in remote learning for non-in-person days. For schools able to accommodate roughly one-third of their student population with physical distancing, this model is the Chancellor’s preference because it provides one consistent day each week.
This model is available to elementary, middle, and high schools.
This model serves the same number of students as Model Two, also providing five days in-person every three weeks but with a different cadence and schedule. Model Three offers an option for a six-day rotation, allowing students to be in-person two days and remote four days in a six-day cycle.
This model is available to middle and high schools.
Based on building capacity and student enrollment, principals will choose from these models, and schools will form cohorts of students to come in-person on designated days. Schools will pick based on capacity and community needs, and wherever possible, students should be programmed for in-person instruction at a greater frequency. If schools need to request adjustments or would like to request different models, they can request to do so via their Superintendent, and that will be subject to thorough review and approval.
To reflect, the unique needs of their student population, District 75 schools will have an additional two model options that may have students in school every other week for five days straight, with a potential for some groups to be in-person full-time dependent on student need.
With all models, students will be learning five days a week. Blended learning is designed to create seamless transitions in and out of a remote setting, and all curriculum will be adaptable in both learning environments. Schools will emphasize academic continuity for students, and provide additional support on the days students are learning remotely.
As we’ve adapted and strengthened our practices, we have invested in the technology required to provide a quality online academic experience—distributing over 300,000 iPads to students who need them—and we are working with teachers to be more effective online instructors. At the same time, we are working on policies and guidelines to update curriculum to reflect the blended learning online and in-person model, as well as the appropriate social-emotional learning and mental health supports.
Social-emotional learning and trauma-informed care will be integrated throughout the year, and all schools will offer mental health support. We will also continue to offer in-person services to students with disabilities to the greatest extent possible, and provide instruction for multilingual learners in-person and remote in a student’s home language where needed.