Last week, New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza boasted how public school teachers have been receiving remote instruction training all summer long, and that his Department of Education has been strategizing to reopen schools safely in September since March.
"A huge amount of effort has gone into getting our schools ready months and months of preparation we are sparing no expense were going to do whatever it takes," @NYCMayor says at the top of his daily briefing about the reopening of schools in September.— Julia Marsh (@juliakmarsh) July 31, 2020
This assertion was disputed by individual teachers:
On @NYCSchools town hall, @DOEChancellor keeps talking about all the training teachers have done to make remote learning better this summer. There has been zero training. Zero. We’ve been spending all summer frantically “planning” for a hybrid indoor model that won’t be safe.— Liat in BK (@Liat_RO) July 28, 2020
As well as by Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, who told Chalkbeat, “There’s a reason why I was writing editorials and on TV in the middle of April yelling, ‘we need to start planning now.’ City Hall didn’t want to start planning until July.”
Parents still have no idea exactly what either all remote or hybrid learning will consist of. (In the spring, the sort of instruction students received was completely teacher-dependant, with no clear guidelines from either the DOE or the unions.) Despite the uncertainty, families need to decide which version they prefer and commit to it by this Friday, August 7. Those who opt for hybrid may switch their choice to all remote at any time, while those who opt for all remote will only have select periods in which to choose to return to the classroom.
With everything so horribly uncertain, a parent wrote me:
I have no idea what we’re doing. My kid’s school said they’ll be 100% remote and I have to work full-time outside of the home and I feel very lost. I’d love to hear ideas from other parents.
At NY School Talk, we’re all about Parents Helping Parents. Here’s how some families are planning to make it work:
We’re doing fully remote (Kindergarten) in the fall but since I have no idea what that will look like I’ve purchased a homeschooling curriculum and 4 Weeks to Read as backup to whatever they provide. Fingers crossed!….
I am sending my kindergartner to Brooklyn Nature Days full time since it’s 100% outdoors and hopefully safer, but don’t want to lose our space at PS32 g&t so will be doing the online assignments when he gets home. I got confirmation that they won’t require participation in Zoom calls. Hoping we can somehow make this work though would much prefer to simply put PS32 on hold until he can attend in person….
I am working on a “remote pod” for this year, my oldest will be in kindergarten! It is daunting for sure, but I have an excellent teacher lined up if we can coordinate all the details (obviously Covid precautions and protocols, as well as the age-old stumbling block of allergies and more typical ‘school’ concerns – I wouldn’t feel comfortable having any peanut allergies in our house, for example, my fam is way too liberal with nut eating/spilling – not to mention what happens to the other siblings, and parents trying to wfh… and so on and on). I think 4 kids is a nice number, so far I’ve got two other interested families. We had a fourth but they want to try for blended model now… If all the kids are remote and we have a good teacher to facilitate an appropriate curriculum, does it even matter if the kids are enrolled at the same school (!)? Has come up in a couple different ways already; I’m of the mind it doesn’t matter so much but think I’m in the minority. I should add too, while the cost is actually reasonable – less than any daycare or preschool arrangement we’ve ever had – we do have a younger daughter, so we’ll probably be looking to mitigate $ commitment to the 3’s program she’s already signed up for. We don’t really feel comfortable sending her, either, unless about half her class drops out – which I think might happen – so hopefully it will all work out. It is all a bit crazy and hard to swallow. The decisions and logistics of having small ones in NYC these days…
For the summer, we got a babysitter for my daughter and her friend. The babysitter comes for 3 hours a day every morning and runs the kids around the parks (both sets of parents work, and otherwise the kids would be stuck with screentime). Planning to ask her if she is comfortable coming into the house and supporting the zoom meeting and maybe supplement with additional activities with my daughter and her friend come the fall. It’s an idea at least….
I am APPALLED by the idea of the pods that people are creating. This “workaround” of the school systems minimized school week is alarming and could cause there to be multi-school outbreaks instead of concentrated/contained outbreaks, depending on how people decide to “pod.” I haven’t seen that addressed. If this type of cross-contamination is going to happen, I would just prefer kids go to school five days a week! I will be keeping my rising kindergartener home this school year (and beyond, if needed/possible). He would have been attending PS59 (Hopefully still will be virtually), but I do not find anything sufficient about the safety of the plans proposed. We have had tremendous success using Outschool for supplemental learning and keeping him engaged by selecting classes that reflect his interests (Super Mario, Elephant & Piggie etc)….
We are going to school in CT where it will be in person, and specifically sending my 1st grader to a very small stem school for gifted kids…6 other kids in her class…
My wife is a foreign national so the kids have dual citizenship. They will be going to school overseas, in the boondocks where COVID is under control and schools will be open 5 days a week. They will stay until the schools are open here 5 days a week for a week or two without a surge. I am hoping for Halloween, but Christmas is more likely….
I’m a parent of an 8th grader come September under the public school system. Right now bc of the limited information provided by the DOE and our school, i don’t feel comfortable signing any forms before 8/7. I would like to hear what our school has to say as far as remote blended if blended which model? Tho there was an outline as to what remote and blended will look like, And it appears remote seems more cohesive and put together, DOE made too many false promises. I don’t see how an assigned teacher from the doe can still link to our school community. On the flip side blended, tho they can’t promise it will be the same teacher, I feel more secure knowing that if we have any questions we have our school admin to ask, I don’t even know if that’s true. Either way, more than likely we will supplement with a tutor – subject based for my kid as needed for sure….
HS Freshman 100% remote from home. Go with what school is offering (very little) and workbooks….
My daughter is going to be high school senior in the fall. She took most of the classes required for graduation and was hoping to get some college level electives and APs. I don’t think that the currently proposed blended model will work, so we will probably opt for the fully remote. I also don’t think that remote teaching will work judging from the spring semester. My daughter had one live instruction class per week and only in one subject. The other teachers were either sending reading materials and homework assignments for self learning and some of teachers even graded these assignments without feedback (but some didn’t even provide grades), or just disappeared for weeks or months without any explanation. So she will complete classes required for graduation online at school. And we are looking at actual colleges for college level classes. At least colleges provided actual teaching in the spring. And if you need to pay for tutor to teach a college level class that the school cannot teach, why not pay for actual college class? And you can get college credit. As for the socialization we plan to have “a pod”, a set of friends who study together and socialize together while promising to adhere to the same level of precautions.
What do you think of these parents’ plans? Share your own ideas, below!