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Success Academy goes fully remote throughout the rest of 2020

Teacher John Kaufmann working with first graders at Success Academy Union Square. Photo by Byron Smith

New York City’s largest charter school system, Success Academy, is going completely online through December, according to a news release issued Thursday.  

Success Academy leadership announced in July that it would open its campuses in August and follow a blended learning model for the school year that combined in-person and remote classes. Now, the charter school systems 20,000 students will all receive live instruction five days a week via Zoom, the release states.

All students will use Success Academy-issued personal laptops or tablets to access their classes. 

High schoolers returned to classes on Aug. 4 and kindergarten, elementary and middle school students sat down for their first day of remote learning on Aug. 24, according to the release. 

“Our Remote 2.0 is ‘real school’ with a full schedule of live instruction five days a week, and we’re putting all our energy into making this experience as rich and engaging as possible,” said Eva Moskowitz, Success Academy founder and CEO. “The logistical complexities of keeping our community safe would greatly compromise the student learning experience and limit so many of the interactions kids love about school.” 

The decision to continue the school year completely remotely comes as the city tries to iron out kinks in its own school reopening plan. After weeks of parents, teachers and principals calling for the delay to in-person classes on Sept. 10, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza delayed the start of the school year until Sept 21. 

Parents and school staff repeatedly argued that Sept.10 was too early for students and faculty to safely enter school buildings given that many schools still did not know the status of forthcoming shipments of supplies like hand sanitizer, facemasks or liquid for electrostatic cleaners. Teachers and parents also grew increasingly concerned about airflow in school buildings given the increasing amount of scientific evidence supporting that COVID-19 is more easily contracted in stagnant air. 

The 11-day delay to the start of the school year also came after one of the New York City teachers union, the United Federation of Teachers, threatened a job action if the city did not mandate COVID-19 testings in schools or it otherwise deemed schools to be unsafe for its members. 

De Blasio was able to come to an agreement with the UFT President Michael Mulgrew on Tuesday after the union’s executive board canceled its strike authorization vote.

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