New York City Schools Move Away From Remote Learning
published on August 31, 2021 by Sonia Mastros
For the past year or more, during the COVID-19 outbreak, most schools have been relying on remote learning to supplement or replace in-class learning. However, as vaccination rates rise around the country, and overall infection and death rates fall, schools are beginning to look forward to resuming normal in-person classes.
Most recently, New York City (NYC) announced that it will end all remote learning for Fall 2021, and resume normal schooling. Since NYC was hit hard by COVID-19, this is a big sign that things truly are returning to normal.
But will Fall 2021 be the right time for your district to go back to in-person classes? Here are some things to consider.
Five Major Factors When Deciding To End Remote Learning
1. Do you need to end all remote learning?
For some students, remote learning works well. Some may even prefer it, and it can be a good option for low-income areas or special needs students. Even if your district is focused on reopening in the Fall, keeping some remote learning options available may be beneficial.
2. What are the statistics like in your area?
Three big statistics are going to govern reopening policies: vaccination rates, infections, and deaths. Each district is going to have to take a hard look at those numbers, as well as the trends in their area, to decide whether a return to in-person schooling will be safe enough to justify.
3. What does public opinion look like?
This probably isn't a decision you want to make without taking public opinion into consideration. In some areas, parents are already calling for full-time classes. In others, parents are reluctant and more focused on child safety at all costs. You should have a good 'read' on your district and public attitudes before making a final decision.
4. Are your facilities ready to re-open?
Not all schools have the staff available for full-time classes, and this is a particular problem when it comes to school bus transportation. Many districts are hurting for drivers more than ever before. If there aren't enough bus drivers and buses for all the students, remote learning may have to continue until these problems can be rectified.
5. Will any new COVID variants emerge?
This is the big X factor. We're already seeing variants such as COVID-19 Delta, which spread more easily than the original strain of the coronavirus. More such variations may appear in months to come, especially in communities without widespread vaccinations. Another major outbreak is still possible, although, fortunately, so far these variations have not been terribly disruptive.
Has your district begun the planning process for re-opening in the fall? What factors are influencing your decision? Please let us know in the comments below!