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Here’s the latest:
New York City public school officials are targeting a September opening but possibly with a rolling start as well as split scheduling that allows for better social distancing. Students would engage in “blended learning,” a combination of online and in-person instruction.
The ideas were laid out in an email sent on Tuesday from New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza to principals and other school leaders, which the New York Post first reported and was later shared by Chalkbeat.
“Since we cannot yet predict what September will look like, we can—and we must—be prepared for a range of possibilities,” Carranza wrote.
The email was the most detailed picture yet of what city school children can expect when they return to the classroom. Governor Andrew Cuomo has not yet said when schools would reopen but dramatic changes are likely. Other countries have instituted measures like temperature checks, staggered and phased-in start times and keeping windows open to allow for more air circulation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended staggered scheduling, smaller groups of instruction, modified seating plans, physical barriers, among other safety precautions.
In his email, Carranza said that schools should be ready to deal with the trauma felt by children. “We know that we must have a thoughtful process to reacclimate children, parents, and staff to being back in school buildings,” he wrote. “This means we must focus on the social-emotional needs of school communities while implementing trauma-informed approaches to teaching and learning.”
Schools, he said, will also have to comply with “enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols.”
But important questions, such as how often to test staff and teachers and the protocol of treating a sick child, are still unanswered, as a recent New York Times editorial raised.
Carranza said city school officials would be communicating with “families, parent leaders, community partners, students, and staff in the coming weeks to learn more about what they would like to see reflected in reopening plans.”