New blended learning enrollment numbers for New York City coming later this week, officials say

Happy black teacher giving exam paper to her student while wearing protective face mask in the classroom.
Photo via Getty Images

New enrollment numbers for the city’s blended learning model, where students take classes remotely and in-person in school, will be released later this week, officials said Monday. 

Families of New York City public school students currently enrolled in only remote learning had a two week period ending Sunday, Nov. 15, to switch their children in blended learning by filling out a form on the Department of Education’s website. 

Previously, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza told parents that families would be given multiple periods to enroll their children into blended learning throughout the school year.

But in a sudden switch, officials scrapped the multiple opt-in date policy and instead replaced it with a two-week window in an effort to boost lower than expected in-person attendance. Only about 300,000 out of the city’s 1.1 million public school students have stepped back into a physical classroom since classes started in September. 

Officials argue that the two-week period will allow the DOE to better solve the teacher shortage caused by providing both remote and in-person classes simultaneously,  to better place COVID-19 personal protective equipment and would allow for classroom consolidation. 

One Brooklyn high school teacher told amNewYork Metro that he oversees four to seven classes a day which only normally have only four to five in-person students. On Monday,  he covered seven classes for absent teachers and only had one student attending class in-person. 

Schools will begin to implement new schedules reflecting the updated enrollment numbers on Nov. 30. At that time, if a student enrolled in blended learning does not show up for in-person classes they will be moved to fully remote. 

Prior to the start of the school year, officials used data collected from the DOE opt-in survey to help support claims that the majority of families wanted in-person classes for the children this school year. Nearly 70,000 students were originally slated to take part in blended learning, the mayor said in August. 

But the survey only gave families the option to choose remote learning and those that did not fill out the survey were automatically assumed to want blended. It was not until city officials released attendance numbers that New Yorkers were given a more accurate picture.

Some parents and teachers told amNewYork Metro that blended learning enrollment numbers to remain low given the staffing crunch and how the public school system came to shutting down after the number of New York City residents testing positive for COVID-19 almost reached 3% last Friday. 

“We are busy crunching those numbers right now,” said Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza on Monday clarifying that the department will release enrollment breakdowns by school and borough.

“It will take a few days to make sure we have the final count right,” Mayor de Blasio added.