Families reeling from sweeping education changes amid coronavirus crisis

Posted at 8:00 AM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 08:00:38-04

NEW YORK — Families are reeling from the sweeping changes to education during the coronavirus crisis.

Students in New York will not take Regents exams this year, but graduating seniors will get credit for it and their diploma.

Traditionally, seniors must pass five of the exams to graduate. The massive change comes amid uncertainty over when, or if, students will return to class this year amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The unprecedented announcement is the latest change to education during the upheaval distance learning.

Previously, the Department of Education announced it also would not give math and English evaluation exams to students in grades three through eight.

In a statement, the Board of Regents said, “These are extraordinary decisions for an unprecedented time … and the Board of Regents knows these are ultimately the right ones for New York’s students.”

Concerns are also being raised about unequal access to education as many children don’t have computers or internet access needed for remote learning.

New York City’s graduation rate has ticked steadily upward in recent years, hitting 77% in 2019. But with city finances tanking -- losses believed to be in the billions -- education funding could be slashed by $264 million, including scrapping a summer youth employment program.

New Yorkers paying student loans, however, are getting a break. Nearly all who have a loan with private lenders have been allowed to defer payments for three months and late fees have been waived for 300,000 borrows not covered by previous federal stimulus measures.