Chicago, the nation’s third-largest school district, will begin the academic year remotely, after teachers and parents opposed a hybrid plan that would have sent children into classrooms two days a week.
“When we announced the potential for a hybrid model some weeks ago, we were in a very different place in the arc of the pandemic,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. The city’s reported coronavirus cases have steadily increased in recent weeks, to more than 250 a day.
|Chicago’s shift leaves New York City as the only major school system in the country that is still planning to offer in-person classes this fall. But New York — which has some of the lowest viral transmission rates in the country — is confronting a torrent of logistical issues and political problems.|
|There are not yet enough nurses to staff schools, and ventilation systems in aging buildings are in urgent need of upgrades. There may not even be enough teachers available to offer in-person instruction. Some teachers are threatening to stage a sickout — teacher strikes are illegal in New York — and their union has indicated it might sue over reopening.|
|“The entire country is watching how New York City handles this,” Eliza Shapiro, who covers education for The New York Times, told us. “If the city can pull off a safe reopening, it could provide a blueprint for scores of other districts trying to figure this out. But if the city halts or delays its plan, or has to close schools quickly after they open in September, it could be a warning shot to other districts.”|