New York City Delays In-Person Learning Again as Hybrid Learning Backfires

Photo by: John Nacion/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 9/17/20 Students and teachers from Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Oakland Gardens, Queens, New York held a protest against in-person learning as Teachers raise new concerns over schools' readiness against Covid-19 on September 17, 2020. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and …
John Nacion/STAR MAX/IPx /AP

Staffing shortages are leading to a delay in in-person learning once again in New York City, said Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and city and teachers’ union officials Thursday.

The nation’s largest public school system was slated to open its classrooms to students Monday, but a new agreement will have pre-K students and those with special needs beginning in-person, while K-5 and K-8 schools welcome students for the first time on September 29, and middle and high schools open October 4.

Michael Mulgrew, president of United Federation of Teachers (UFT), has said the school system needs 10,000 new hires, reported U.S. News.

“This is an unprecedented challenge,” Mulgrew said, complimenting de Blasio. “Most people would run away rather than want to take on this challenge.”

“We want our school system up running and safe and we want to keep it up running and safe because that’s what the families in this city deserve,” he added.

This second delay in reopening New York City schools for in-person learning comes as students whose families opted for hybrid or “blended” learning, i.e., part time in-person learning and part-time remote, are no longer guaranteed virtual instruction on the days they are learning remotely from home – also due to staffing shortages, reported NY1.

The city’s education department had promised students opting for the blended model would still obtain a certain amount of “synchronous instruction,” in which they would be able to interact with teachers via video chats.

However, on Tuesday night, as students prepared to “log on” to meet their teachers, the education department removed the requirements to offer a minimum of “live teaching minutes” in order to provide principals with “flexibility.”

On Wednesday, schools Chancellor Richard Carranza praised the city’s education department for providing teachers and families updates on the changes.

“We’re being transparent,” he said. “You’re almost darned if you do and darned if you don’t.”

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