One parent lamented on Twitter that “we should have had a phased reopening planned all along” and “It didn’t have to go down like this. I may have a panic attack processing this last-minute change.”
@NYCSchools @NYCMayor Ok, so can you please get it together?! We were supposed to start school like 2 weeks ago to get it pushed back. Now you’re saying it’s going to get pushed back again? Surprisingly we want school and you’ve had more than enough time to organize everything.
— Norel Sky (@NorelSky) September 17, 2020
For 15-year-old Omar Roberts of Flatbush, this delay was yet another disappointment since he’s more than ready to start his junior year at Abraham Lincoln High School in Brighton Beach.
“Staying home all day every day, it’s kind of boring. I was kind of excited to go to class ’cause I get to see my teachers. And I’m pretty sad that they canceled it, ’cause last time I was waiting for it to reopen and they canceled it and I was like ‘OK,’ and then they did it again. And now I don’t know,” Roberts said in an interview Thursday as he played football with friends near Prospect Park.
“I just don’t want to stay home all day. If you’re gonna keep doing that, you might as well just cancel the whole school year,” he said. “I don’t know if they’re going to do it again.”
On Thursday, de Blasio said the school year that was to start on Monday would instead begin remotely for all but the youngest students.
Students in 3K, Pre-K and District 75 schools who are enrolled in blended learning will start on Monday, September 21st. Blended learning students attending K-5 and K-8 schools will not set foot in school buildings until September 29th. Blended learning students attending middle and high schools, as well as students in secondary schools (schools spanning grades 6-12), and transfer schools/adult education schools, will return to buildings on October 1st.
All students will commence remote learning Monday while awaiting the staggered schedule. It’s the second delay for the school year, after de Blasio had initially said he wanted to reopen schools on September 10th.
The announcement caught many off-guard, including educators who learned about the change from the mayor’s press briefing Thursday.
@NYCMayor and @DOEChancellor: our students, families, teachers and principals deserve better. Where is the open communication? How is it that the timeline for school openings keeps changing and our school principals hear about it from a press conference?? #DoBetter #respect
— mino lora 🇩🇴 🇺🇸 (@MinoLora) September 17, 2020
I don’t think the Mayor and the DOE have any idea how these abrupt changes are impacting students, teachers and parents.
— L. Joy Williams (@ljoywilliams) September 17, 2020
DOE parent married to DOE teacher, Covid cases in both schools, remote learning not working, I can’t earn a living home with 2 kids…gutted by all of this bullshit. Complete, predictable FAIL.
— Mia Pearlman (@mia_pearlman) September 18, 2020
Brooklyn parent Nora Carroll is a public defender with an 8-year old son Dante, who said, “I just want to go back to school. I hate online learning — we don’t even (learn) anything. I mean, the teachers just give us such easy problems and some of them don’t even know how to use the website that we are doing online learning on,” he told a Gothamist/WNYC reporter on Thursday. “I just did orientation today so it was just a big waste of time.”
“So I appreciate that teachers want a safe workspace too, but it is really hard for working parents to make arrangements,” Carroll said, and noted she’s scrambling to set up private childcare for the days she has to appear in court.
Another parent, Katrina Blackman, has a son, Christopher, in the first grade, and she said the changes are understandable though frustrating.
“Even if they say, ‘hey we need one more week to get some of the quirks out,’ I’m okay with that,” she said in a Thursday interview. “It’s a little bit frustrating and needs some adjusting too, because everyone has a schedule and you are trying to keep your children on schedule when they’re at this age or any age. But like I said, you just want to get it right.”
Student Yoli Jacquez, a junior at Life Sciences Secondary School in Manhattan, said she was looking forward to a stable schedule again after months of uncertainty.
“It’s frustrating because I was so set on making everything work out for Monday and now I have to wait even longer to get started and get used to that routine,” she said Friday.
I told my kids they would get a real education this fall – it just wouldn’t be the usual school curriculum. Instead they are being taught a powerful lesson about the critical importance of voting & having strong, capable, hard-working leaders at City Hall.
— Grace Rauh (@gracerauh) September 17, 2020
With Gwynne Hogan and Jessica Gould