NEW YORK - The city's 178-year-old public school system has never seen anything like it.
“This is not a normal school day, so it’s not you start at this time and you end at this time and lunch is at this time. No. Flexibility is the word flexibility just be flexible," Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza told NY1 in an interview Friday.
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A system of 1.4 million students and teachers diving into remote learning with less than a week to figure it all out. One thing is certain: it’s not an effort to replicate the traditional classroom.
"The goal here is to remain academically engaged, the goal is to continue to try to master concepts, the goal is not to adhere to a lunch schedule, or adhere to a class schedule," Carranza said.
With both students and many of the city’s parents at home during the pandemic, plenty of parents are figuring out how to help guide their children’s education. But Carranza says teachers will do the heavy lifting.
“What we want for parents is to be as involved as they can and want to be involved. Quite frankly I think parents are going to have fun if they have the opportunity to sit with their students as they’re doing some of these assignment," he said. "But we also recognize that parents are really stressed right now, especially with the job situation.”
Not every student will be able to get online… hundreds of thousands don’t have the right technology at home, and are awaiting new devices on order by the city. They’ll be learning on paper, with packets sent home from schools.
And it’s not just remote learning starting Monday. The city is also rolling out Regional Enrichment Centers, to provide childcare for nurses, cops and other essential workers who have no other options for their children.
“Again, the need and the want is far surpasses what our capacity is right now to provide that service, so we’ve prioritized first responded and healthcare workers, their children, because obviously if they don’t have a place for their children it could bring us to a grinding halt," he said.
Meanwhile, the city is surveying eligible families to see how many actually will send their children to the enrichment centers. The results will determine if the centers will have the space to take in the children of other kinds of workers, too.