Live instruction — teachers interacting with students in real time — will be required as part of the city’s online summer school program, the Education Department says.
When the city moved to remote learning in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it did not require teachers to teach live over teleconference technology like Zoom — and some have chosen not to, instead posting assignments that students complete on their own and return. But during remote summer school, teachers will be required to provide at least one hour and 15 minutes of live teaching a day.
The department began informing principals about the requirement Friday.
“This crisis has led us to completely transform a traditional school system, and we’ve learned and adapted along the way. As we look towards serving a record number of students with remote learning this summer, it will include daily, live instruction as part of our mission to get these students on track for a successful fall,” DOE spokeswoman Danielle Filson said. “We are grateful to our teachers who will be delivering this instruction to the students who need it most, and to our families who continue to guide and assist their children during remote learning.”
The department has acknowledged it does not know how many teachers are providing live instruction during the regular school year, nor where they are located — prompting concerns from some lawmakers that students in neighborhoods with better resources could be getting more live teaching.
While summer school will be virtual this year, the number of students required to attend summer classes in order to move on to the next grade has spiked significantly — an indicator of the challenges those students have faced during remote learning. The department says those students need extra time and attention, and will benefit from live instruction.
The requirements call for live instruction to make up at least an hour and 15 minutes of a teacher’s daily schedule — but allows them to provide more live instruction if they choose, and offers flexibility for what the live instruction looks like. It could include class-wide, small group or individual support, offer hours for students and families, wellness check-ins with students, project or schoolwork check-ins, and conferences with students.
Special education students with year-round individualized education plans will also get extra live instruction — at least two hours a day. That includes remote teletherapy if the student’s plan calls for it, the DOE says. English Language Learners will also receive extra small group instruction from an English as a new language teacher.
The requirement for remote live teaching comes the same day Governor Cuomo signed an executive order allowing districts to provide in-person services to special education students. Late Friday, the city education department said it was reviewing the order, but as of now plans to provide these services remotely this summer.