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Some in NYC public schools opt for blended learning

Posted at 6:05 PM, Oct 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-31 18:05:36-04

OZONE PARK, Queens — The New York City Department of Education has decided to give families who previously enrolled their kids in full-remote learning one last option to enroll them into blended learning, but with only a short window to do it.

Now, many working parents are scrambling to make a decision.

Glenn David is a working Queens father with three girls enrolled in remote learning at NYC public schools.

“We both work so its a challenge,” David said.

David claims the virtual learning curriculums are not as effective as classroom instruction. It’s also been costing his family more time and more money.

“Financially, to have someone there to supervise them with the technical part.”

His three little girls, ages 3, 5, and 10, were among the thousands of students, who lost days of education this school year, waiting on learning devices from the department of education.

“We had to go out and buy tablets because tablets from DOE were taking long to come in,” David said. “Even tablets we got from the school couldn’t open certain programs necessary.”

His family is now deciding to opt the girls into blended learning.

The city announced earlier this week that parents now have only one more chance to choose the hybrid option for their children, a combination of in-class and at-home instruction, beginning Monday, with a deadline of Nov. 15 for the school year ending in June.

The teacher’s union saying the single-opt in option breaks an earlier promise that families could opt back in every three months.

“A number of families that did not choose remote have in fact chosen remote learning, so what ended up happening, principals are in a difficult position because they have teachers assigned for in person learning with three kids in their classes,” said Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza

City data shows as of Friday, only 280,000 of the 1.1 million NYC public school students are attending school in-person which is much lower than expected attendance rates. Most are enrolled in remote learning, but still 77,000 don’t have devices or internet connection.

“My big concern is my 5th grader is about to be in 6th grade, with the state exam and losing one full year," said David. "Let’s face it remote learning is not real learning.”

Random testing at schools so far are showing low infection rates of 0.15% among students and staff.

So, on this Halloween, while the David family has been spooked away from sending their children back to classrooms out of COVID-19 concerns, they say they don’t want them to lose another day of their education.

The blended learning opt-in starts Monday and goes through Nov. 15. Those students will then go back to the classroom in December. If families don’t opt in during that time, they’ll have to stay fully remote for the entire school year.

For information on how to do so, visit the city's website.