51,000 additional students to return to in-person learning at NYC schools Monday


NEW YORK (WPIX) — From preschool to high school, 51,000 more New York City public school students are going back into the classroom starting Monday.

It brings the total number to 360,000 students entering the school buildings at least a few days a week, but that’s still less than 40% of the city’s close to 1 million student population. The rest are still choosing to learn online from home.

For some parents who opted in for in-person learning the last go round, they say the experience has been disappointing.

“It’s not going back to a teacher in the classroom it’s the same set up at home in a zoom call,” Renata Gomes, a parent of a high school student, told NewsNation affiliate WPIX. “Teachers are still on zoom.”

Renata Gomes’ 15-year-old daughter Sophia, a sophomore at Murrow high school in Brooklyn’s Midwood neighborhood, went back into the school building two days a week last month.

Gomes, a member of the Murrow Parents Action group, says close to 40% of the teachers are on medical leave so her daughter just zooms in a classroom.

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“You sit at a desk in a completely silent room and you go into a Zoom meeting,” Sophia Gibbins, Gomes’ daughter, told WPIX. “The teachers are upstairs teaching you.”

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed guidance on social distancing in the classroom from six feet to three, Mayor Bill de Blasio had been hoping more than 51,000 students would choose to opt-in.

City Councilmember Brad Lander, a candidate for city comptroller, is already worrying about what will happen in September when all students will hopefully be back to in-person learning.

“If we are going to fully reopen in the fall for close to one million students, we have to start planning right now,” Lander told WPIX. “We have  to create school reopening councils in each school so we can help all of them get a plan.”

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