After a frustrating day for thousands of school children, wherein the remote orientation took off with a terribly shaky start, a last-minute guideline by the NYC education Department threw parents into a tizzy.
On Wednesday, The virtual school orientation for hundreds of thousands of public school kids was nothing short of disappointing. The disconcerting last-minute decision in which the Education Department stated that schools need not have to offer daily “live” online classes, like Zoom lessons, for 600,000 students alternating between in-person and remote learning, threw most parents off. For parents who opted for part-time, in-person learning on the belief their children would get live virtual access to a teacher on the remaining days, the reversal was quite off-putting.
As per this new guideline, parents are left befuddled with the fact that the only live interaction their children will have with a teacher will come during the one to three days a week when they actually make the commute to their school buildings.
As reported by NY Daily News, Raven Snook, the mother of a sophomore at LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts said, “They (the Department) had five months to figure this out.”. Angered by the unwarranted decision, she said city officials should never have promised live daily virtual teaching if they couldn’t follow through.
This last-minute change goes to prove that there is a considerable shortage in the requirement of teachers across the city. There aren’t enough teachers to meet the demand of 600,000 students who were to switch between in-person and remote learning when schools open on Sept. 21. This being said, the 400,000 students in NYC who have opted for fully-remote classes, will still get guaranteed daily live instruction.
The reason as to why staffing has become an ordeal is due to smaller class sizes that need to adhere to social distancing norms, over 16,000 teachers being unable to offer their services due to medical conditions, and the requirement for each school to assign three separate groups of teachers — one for “blended learning” students on days they’re in school, another for those students on days they’re home, and a third for the all-remote students. Although the Department has offered an additional 2,000 teachers earlier this week to address the shortage, citizens and schools feel that this might not suffice.
According to the DOE, if schools have the staffing to pull off daily live remote instruction for all students they will still offer it, while schools that don‘t have enough teachers by Sept. 21 can try to phase it in as staffing permits. As of now, many schools have ended up taking matters into their own hands, curtailing in-person classes so they could guarantee every student got live instruction for each class, even if it’s virtual.