New York City public school families will have some extra time to enroll their students in blended learning.
On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the deadline for families to opt into the city’s hybrid learning model will be extended for two days before finally ending on Friday, April 9.
City officials opened a new registration window for blended learning last month after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new social distancing guidance in schools which allows students now sit three feet apart form one another instead of maintaining six feet of distance at all times.
In March, Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter said all New York City public school parents are allowed to enroll their children regardless of grade into blended during the enrollment window. But officials will prioritize bringing back 3-k, pre-K, District 75 and elementary school students back first later this month.
“We want families to have more time to consider returning back to our classrooms and we want you to have the time to make these decisions in a timely manner,” said Porter. “In the meantime, we will continue to closely monitor the advice of our medical experts… the tides have changed and we are looking forward to bringing more consistency to our our schools and to our classrooms.”
The extended deadline could potentially coincide with an upcoming announcement on the city’s “two-case” rule for public school closures which forces schools to shutter for 10 days if two unlinked COVID-19 cases are detected.
During his weekly appearance on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show,” de Blasio announced he would release a long-awaited update on the contentious rule sometime this week.
On Monday, shortly before extending the blended learning opt-in deadline, de Blasio again said officials were gearing up to make an announcement on a new school COVID-19 closure policy but was unable to commit to an exact date.
Parents could be forced to decide to enroll their children without know anything about the new closure policy potentially sewing distrust in the mayor and the Department of Education. When asked by reporters earlier this week how they should have faith in the opt-in process, de Blasio hinted the new rule would require schools to close if more than two cases of the virus are detected in a building.
“It’s going to be more than two and therefore they can have in the problem really had been–as we experienced, as the data kept coming back–that the two case rule didn’t make sense anymore,” said de Blasio. “I don’t think that parents are out there with a banner saying we want X number of cases or Y number of cases, I think that folks feel that the two case rule had outlived its usefulness. So it will be gone.”
The mayor has not made any predictions publicly on how many families will choose to opt their children into the city’s hybrid learning model but at least 25,000 public school students previously in fully remote learning have enrolled in blended during the window. Interested families can learn how to enroll their children into the city’s hybrid learning model on the DOE’s website.