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As virus spreads, NYC parents choose: Live or remote school?

SeattlePI.com Friday, 13 November 2020 ()
NEW YORK (AP) — A resurgence of the coronavirus in New York City is threatening to halt the nation’s biggest experiment with in-person learning.

The city's public school system this fall became one of just a few large, urban districts in the U.S. to welcome students back into classrooms. A little more than a quarter of the city's 1.1 million pupils have been attending classes in person between one and three days a week.

Just a few weeks ago, the return was going well enough that officials decided to give a little shove to the majority of parents who had opted to stick with all-remote learning: Send your kids back now, parents were told, or forfeit the option of having them return later this academic year.

But as the Sunday deadline to make the switch loomed, the city also approached a threshold the mayor set to suspend in-person learning.

Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated Thursday that he will close all school buildings if 3% of the COVID-19 tests performed in the city over a 7-day period came back positive. That mark was set over the summer as part of a deal to avoid a teachers' strike.

On Thursday, that citywide positivity rate was at 2.6%, after climbing for several weeks, city officials said.

Some parents expressed frustration that they were being asked to make a decision about sending children back into classrooms, when the city itself is not even sure what will happen in the days ahead.

"The information that we have seems to indicate that these next few months are not going to be so great,” said Jared Rich, who has kept his son out of pre-kindergarten so far but would consider sending him in the spring when teachers can open windows and take students outside.

The mayor, Rich said, is “forcing us to make the decision to put our kids in person at a time...
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