Classroom | Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo
New York City schools will set up 100 centers throughout the city to accommodate children of city workers as it hashes out the logistics of schools shutting down, according to a two-page memo issued by the Department Of Education Tuesday on its contingency plans.
The “regional enrichment center” sites will open March 23 throughout the five boroughs, which will serve thousands of children in 3-K through 12th grade, according to the memo. The sites were selected based on physical and operational factors like location, capacity, accessibility, health clinics, air conditioning and wraparound services, where available. The DOE said it is prepared to expand the sites in the coming weeks.
They’ll operate Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and each room will have up to 12 children with at least one adult in an effort to give personalized attention and social distancing ne. Children will be able to participate in remote learning with their regular school at the centers, similar to all students. The centers will also include art, music and physical education for students.
Staff from the DOE and community-based organizations will staff each center, along with two nurses, a social worker and a guidance counselor at each site.
The DOE is using emergency procurement with a small number of contracted early education programs to offer support for more three- and four-year-olds, as well as a limited number of infants and toddlers. All other contracted child care centers and family child care homes, the DOE said, will be able “to operate for as long as they can safely operate.”
Children in the centers will receive three hot meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner — per day in classrooms to encourage social distancing. Grab-and-go meals will also be served to all children under the age of 18 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at 100 to 150 hub sites whose locations will be determined by March 20.
The city said last week that it would transition the schools into remote learning by March 23. Teachers and principals are receiving training this week, and school buildings are currently serving grab-and-go meals for students who need them.
“While many of our schools already have substantial remote learning capacity, some schools have less experience with online platforms,” the plan states. “Despite differences in readiness, every school will focus planning time on transitioning their core learning and instruction to a remote-based model.”
Over the next three days, the DOE is requiring schools to download the necessary platform, make sure educators are able to access the appropriate devices and know how to use the “technology-assisted learning platforms” and ensure that the materials are uploaded for people to use, according to the contingency plan. In some instances, schools may be required to prepare take-home materials, and teachers will learn how to partner with students and their colleagues on work plans.
The document states that the DOE is working closely with private partners to deliver devices for students who don’t have access to the internet or devices but does not indicate how many students will receive the technology. NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza previously said that 300,000 families need digital devices, and the DOE has said the first batch of 25,000 digital tablets will be delivered to students next week.
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