NYC Pulls Back Live Instruction For Students In Blended Learning

Marla Diamond
September 16, 2020 - 11:50 am

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New York City is pulling back live instruction for students learning from home if they blend it with in-classroom learning, which starts Monday. 

    The surprise announcement came as students prepared to log on to meet their teachers for orientation. 

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    The Department of Education announced Tuesday night there aren't enough teachers to guarantee live instruction on remote learning days. 

    The change is likely to frustrate some families with kids in crowded schools who are limited to one day of attending school. Without live instruction on remote days, they could spend four days a week without any real-time interaction with teachers. 

    Students who signed up for full remote learning will still receive the minimum amount of live instruction outlined earlier this summer. Parents can opt into remote instruction at any time.

    The last-minute change is aimed at dealing with a massive staffing shortage by schools trying to roll out blended learning by Monday.

    A DOE spokeswoman says they are committed to providing an additional 2,000 educators in schools and as staff is added live teaching online will increase.

    Upper West Side eighth grader Alexa Fedder logged on for her first day of school Wednesday wondering if she made the right choice. 

    "I wanted to be fully remote, but now I'm looking at the schedules where kids who are in school have eight periods of ELA and I'm online in school having five," she said.

    The lack of communication is frustrating her mom, Emily.

    "There's a shortage of teachers in the school and as of now my daughter's grade does not have a history teacher or a Spanish teacher," her mom said.

    The DOE is asking parents to be patient and flexible as they hire more teachers, but mom Renata Lund is switching to Plan B.

    "And I think they've had the summer to work on it and I think it's really disheartening that the administration hasn't gotten what they need to do in place to make it safe," Lund said.

    Meanwhile, the start of the school year is still very much in doubt. 

    The DOE shutdown P.S. 139 in Ditmas Park after two staffers in two separate classrooms tested positive for coronavirus. The cases are not believed to be related.

    Teachers there have staged a work-out, refusing to enter the school. The 24-hour shutdown is part of the city's policy of closing a building when there are two cases within seven days in separate rooms.

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