What will the return to school look like this fall in NYC?

New York City is still two weeks from the end of the school year, but instead of enjoying the early days of summer, students and parents are wondering what school will look like in the fall.

“We don’t know, honestly,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press briefing on Thursday.

At a time when the M\mayor is slashing the Department of Education’s budget and implementing a hiring freeze, there’s significant uncertainty in the nation’s largest public school district

“It could be every single student back in school, it could be no students back in school. We have to be ready for all of that at any point,” de Blasio said.

New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza is calling it “blended learning,” outlining in a letter to educators eight areas of focus: Enhanced health measures, a process to re-acclimate students, a learning strategy relying on distance and in-person learning, consideration of when and at what time school starts, how classes are spaced, the flow of traffic in school buildings, busing and food services. 

Many are still wondering what will happen with summer school, with special needs students, not to mention all the children struggling with online learning. 


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“The DOE has been behind the curve every step of the way, they really didn’t plan on going online until the week when the pandemic hit,” said CUNY Professor David Bloomfield. “We have children who are going to be six months behind in their school work, and they really need to be on-site to get the kind of instruction that we need because they’re going to now be falling nine months or a year behind.”

In a letter to its members, the United Federation of Teachers said that educators should prepare for a hybrid model, with students grouped in cohorts. The UFT says that the Dept. of Education is committed to district-wide testing and is also recommending each student be tested before school begins. 

Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Carranza did not give any timeframe for when a decision will be made.