“This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at ckbe.at/newsletters”.New York City is planning to launch two fully virtual schools, top education department officials said during a City Council hearing on Tuesday, though key details about how and when they will be created have yet to be revealed.
City officials told local lawmakers that launching the “full-time” virtual schools will be part of the solution to high rates of chronic absenteeism and re-engaging students in the wake of pandemic disruption. About 37% of the city’s K-12 students are on track to be chronically absent, defined as missing at least 10% of the school year, substantially higher than the years before the pandemic.
“I believe that virtual learning is here to stay whether or not we have a pandemic,” schools Chancellor David Banks said. He added that students should be “exposed to the best teaching, the best experiences all over the world.”
Banks has signaled since taking office in January that he’s interested in creating more permanent virtual learning options, even as the city has required all students to attend in person this school year. And, amid the Omicron surge this winter, the schools chief said he hoped to revive virtual learning as many parents kept their children home out of fear of exposure or were stuck in quarantines. But he indicated it was difficult to ne …