New York school districts must continue online learning through spring breaks

Dive Brief:

  • School districts in New York state must continue remote learning through April 14, even if it stretches over scheduled spring breaks, Staten Island Advance reports.
  • United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew shared the information in a video to New York City teachers, who he confirmed will still be off April 9-12 to observe religious holidays. Mulgrew also said he is working with the NYC Department of Education to have the week students return to online learning on April 13 be focused on “family service and support.”
  • In the video, Mulgrew admits the state has already asked teachers to do a lot, and they are now being asked to do even more by giving up their spring breaks, but he backs Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s belief that school is giving isolated kids a lifeline by keeping them engaged in education during closures.

Dive Insight:

The next two weeks are part of a “critical phase” in New York that will help determine how long the coronavirus crisis will continue. Mulgrew empathizes that educators are already being stretched to suddenly provide online learning, but he is calling on them to step up again to help keep the educational process moving while flattening the infection rate.

Districts in other parts of the country are taking a different approach. In Ohio, students and teachers were initially given an extended three-week spring break beginning March 16 in an attempt to control the spread of coronavirus. At the time of the announcement, there were only five cases in Ohio. Three weeks later, 2,547 people have tested positive. Earlier this week, Gov. Mike DeWine extended the break through May 1, with a longterm plan for students to begin online learning starting next week.

Hawaii’s spring breaks were set for March, which allowed for a seamless extension of the break to keep students apart and the virus from spreading. Like most states, Hawaii’s original school shutdown has gone on much longer than expected. On March 27, Kamehameha Schools transitioned to distance learning through April 30 or until further notice.

In California, most districts told families students would return after spring break in the first couple of weeks of April. With no sign of the “shelter-in-place” order being lifted, however, schools there have also been closed through the end of the academic year, with Gov. Gavin Newsom asking educators and families to move forward “with the expectation now that schools will not reopen, but classes are in.”

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