Dear PS 321 Families,
I know that many of you are wondering about the implications of the changes in the CDC social distancing guidelines for schools. At this point we have some information, but there are still many unknowns.
We do know that PARENTS OF CHILDREN WHO ARE ALL-REMOTE WILL HAVE ONE MORE OPPORTUNITY TO OPT INTO HYBRID LEARNING. I’m very glad we are able to offer this to families who want it. Please read the letter below from the Chancellor. To move from all-remote to hybrid learning, parents must complete the Learning Preference Survey. (Note that the DOE calls hybrid learning blended learning.) You can do this between this Wednesday, 3/24 and Wednesday, 4/7. For families of children currently learning in all-remote classes, EVEN IF YOU ALREADY WROTE TO ME OR DEB ORR REQUESTING A CHANGE, YOU MUST COMPLETE THIS SURVEY IN ORDER FOR YOUR CHILD TO BE MOVED INTO A HYBRID CLASS.
The DOE has said that these moves will take place in April, and once we see the number of students requesting a move, we will set the dates, which will most likely be between April 14 and April 21. I will be sending a separate letter to Cohort D families to answer some of your questions about hybrid learning.
A big question of course is whether the change in CDC school social distancing guidelines to 3 feet means that we will be able to bring both cohorts in together and have children in school full time. We do not yet know the answer to this, as current guidelines are based not only on the former CDC guidelines, but also on recommendations from New York State and on agreements that the Department of Education made with the UFT and the CSA. In addition, we need to see how many of our remote families opt to have children return to the school building. We will certainly let you know as soon as we have more information on this. Revised CDC guidelines still call for children to remain 6 feet apart during times they are eating, and so if we were able to go to full-time school, we would need to change our procedures for lunch.
Although I do not know what will happen for the rest of this year in terms of our school schedule, I am hopeful that these changes in CDC guidelines mean that we will be back in school full time in the fall, which would be wonderful!
On another very important subject, I am very pleased to report that the DOE has decided to hold schools 100% harmless for money we owe due to register loss. This is great news as we were told earlier that we owed approximately $600,000, and it would have been incredibly challenging to go into next year with this kind of a deficit. Thank you to all the parents and staff who wrote letters and rallied to push the DOE to do this.
March 22, 2021
We just reopened high school buildings for in-person learning for the first time since November 2020, and I have to say that the joy on our students’ faces as they entered their school buildings was amazing. We are thrilled to see students of all ages safely learning in physical classrooms.
That is why I am very pleased to let you know that all our remote families will now have one more opportunity to transition to blended learning this school year. This means that if your child is currently learning remotely every day, they will be able to opt in to learning in person in the school building at least part of the week for the remainder of the school year. We will make every effort to provide as many days of in-person learning as possible.
When and How to Opt In to Blended Learning
- Beginning this Wednesday, March 24, you can visit the Learning Preference Survey at https://www.nycenet.edu/surveys/learningpreference to select blended learning for your child.
- Families can also call 311.
- You can change to blended learning until Wednesday, April 7.
When Your Student Can Return to the School Building
- Students in district 3-K, Pre-K, and grades K-5, including students in District 75, who opt into blended learning during this opt-in window will return to buildings in April.
- Students in grades 6-12 who opt into blended learning during this opt-in window will return at a later date, and we will communicate more details as soon as possible.
- Updates will be posted at https://www.schools.nyc.gov/coronavirus.
Requirements for Returning to the School Building
Please note that if you select blended learning for your child, you must submit the consent form for random COVID-19 testing by the first day your child begins in-person learning. You can submit your consent for testing one of two ways:
- Through your New York City Schools Account (NYCSA) under ‘Manage Account’, or
- Complete and sign the consent form available HERE and bring it to your child’s school on the first day they are back in the school building.
Families that select blended learning are expected to have their child attend in person on days they are scheduled to do so.
Please note that if your child is currently learning fully remotely and you do not complete the survey indicating a preference for blended learning, your student(s) will remain fully remote.
We are able to offer this additional chance for fully remote students to opt in to learning in buildings because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidance, allowing us to safely accommodate more students in a classroom. As always, our focus is on the health and safety of your children, the dedicated staff who serve them, and you—their family. That has been our priority since day one, and will continue to guide everything we do.
Thanks to our strong health and safety practices—including wearing masks, hand hygiene, weekly random testing for COVID-19, physical distancing, and more—our school buildings are among the safest places in the whole city.
Thank you, as always, for your faith and partnership. We continue to show the nation what is possible in terms of safely educating our one million students—and we couldn’t do it without you. I thank you for your commitment and, in turn, I promise you that our commitment to your child is unwavering.
New York City Schools Chancellor