Mr. de Blasio’s assertion that many students will choose to resume hybrid education in the coming weeks has been supported by some teachers.
About 65% of students at Brooklyn’s East New York Elementary School of Excellence started the school year by distance only. But Janet Huger-Johnson, the principal of the school, said she had heard from many families living in homeless shelters and parents of students with disabilities that they were planning to resume classes in person on next month.
“I know the parents who are going to re-register,” she said. “It won’t be a big surprise for me.”
Interviews with dozens of parents in the city over the past few months have shown that there isn’t a single reason why so many families have started the school year with only distant classes.
Some parents have said they will not come back until there is a vaccine, regardless of the low transmission in schools in the city. Others said they didn’t think a few days of in-person school a week was worth it, especially after the city announced at the end of the summer it could no longer guarantee daily education remote live for students choosing blended learning.
Since some children can only go to school once a week, some families also claim that just being far away at least offers some consistency. Parents also said they wanted to see how the first few weeks of school went before making a decision for their own child.
A significant number of schools, including many large secondary schools, have asked all students to choose distance services only if they can, so that schools can address a staff shortage created by a August between the city and the teachers’ union. In these schools, tiny percentages of students have attended class.
The city’s messy effort to reopen schools has also been deeply disheartening for many families.
Mr de Blasio has been forced to twice delay the start of in-person classes after union leaders and educators said there were not enough staff to deliver in-class or online courses.
A cascade of last-minute changes to the reopening plan, including adjustments to staffing policies and virus testing protocols, further undermined confidence in the reopening plan, according to interviews with families in the city .