Accountability Class size New York City

New York City: How Does a District with More than One Million Students Plan to Reopen?

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Leonie Haimson writes here how New York Coty hopes to reopen its public schools, which enroll more than one million students.

Haimson has chided the city for years about its failure to reduce class sizes, and that long history of neglect is making it even more difficult to find space to reopen with small classes.

DOE officials have determined that to maintain proper social distancing, a range of 9-12 students per classroom will be allowed, varying according to the size of the classroom.

Because class sizes are much larger than this in nearly every school, schools will have to separate their students into two or three or sometimes four groups who will take turns attending school in person, to be provided with remote learning when not in school. Families can also choose full-time remote learning with their children never attending school in person.

As a result of vastly different levels of school and classroom overcrowding across the city, some schools will be able to offer about half of their students in-person instruction each day; while others may only be able to allow each student to attend school one or two days a week. Or alternatively, different schools will opt for different groups of students attending school every other week or every third week.

For the most overcrowded schools, there will likely be three cohorts of students with complex schedules (not counting the group who stays home for full time remote learning) as shown to the right.

As usual with most such DOE documents, it provokes as many questions as it answers:
How will the existing number of teachers be able to teach three or four different student groups at the same time, including the ones who are present in school, the ones who are home receiving online instruction part-time, and those receiving full-time remote instruction –– particularly with planned budget cuts and a staffing freeze to schools?

If schools are encouraged to repurpose gymnasiums and cafeterias to allow for more classes to be taught at once, as the Chancellor has suggested, what additional personnel will be used to teach those students?

Will the same teachers be assigned to teach the same groups of students over time, whether in person or remotely?

What will working parents do when their kids are learning from home and cannot be in school?

How will busing and after school be handled?

If children attend school 1-3 days a week, parents will need to make arrangements for them when they are not in school.

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