(Reuters) - North Carolina and New Hampshire have joined a number of other U.S. states and school districts across the country, announcing that schools will open this fall for the new academic school year.
The Trump administration has insisted that every school must reopen in the fall.
Some school districts have announced plans to reopen for students who want to attend in-person class. Others will only offer only online instruction or a mix of classroom and remote learning. Still others have yet to decide what to do with classes due to resume in August or September.
Here’s what some of the largest school districts are doing:
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on July 14 he was “hopeful” that schools in the largest school district in the United States could reopen in September, when the city would have students alternate between classrooms and their homes, pending state approval. The governor of the state, Andrew Cuomo, said on July 13 the state will only allow schools to reopen in areas where the daily infection rate is below 5% of all tests for the novel coronavirus.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has said it was up to local school districts to determine how best to educate their students.
School districts in Los Angeles and San Diego jointly announced on July 13 the new school year will start with online-only instruction. Los Angeles, which has the second largest school district in the country, will resume digital learning on Aug. 18 and San Diego on Aug. 31. Both districts will continue planning for a return to normal as soon as public health conditions allow.
The state education department says local school districts and colleges should work directly with their county health departments to establish rules on reopening schools.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth largest district in the country, plans to offer a choice between in-person and online education, but schools will remain closed as long as the county remains in Phase 1, the strictest of a three-phase state of emergency.
A decision about Chicago Public Schools, the third largest district in the United States, would be made “soon,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on July 9. In the meantime, the district has banned athletic competitions and physical contact of any kind during practice.
Texas schools must offer daily on-campus instruction to all students, but parents will have the option to choose remote learning, according to Texas Education Agency guidelines announced July 7. Texas public school districts must reopen campuses for in-person instruction in August in order to continue receiving state funding, unless the governor issues a school closure order or there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 on campus that forces a temporary shutdown, Education Commissioner Mike Morath said.
Atlanta Public Schools will conduct virtual learning for at least the first nine weeks of the school year, according to a plan by Superintendent Lisa Herring. The school board on July 13 approved delaying the start of the school year two weeks, to Aug. 24, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Remote learning may be extended if the spread of the coronavirus is not contained.
Seattle Public Schools said on July 2 families may choose either a hybrid model with some in-person learning and some remote/online learning, or a 100% online option. The in-person instruction would be for a minimum of two days per week for all K-12 students.
Omaha Public Schools officials said on June 26 it would divide students into two groups with half attending school Monday and Tuesday and the other half Thursday and Friday. Students would rotate attending on Wednesday.
Metro Nashville Public Schools said on June 26 it will offer families the choice of in-person instruction, once it is safe to open classrooms, or digital learning.
New Hampshire public schools are slated to reopen for in-person learning in the fall, Governor Chris Sununu said July 14. The guidelines require all schools to establish daily screening protocols for COVID-19 symptoms among staff and students and encourage social distancing measures. Masks are not mandated but recommended for situations where social distancing is difficult to maintain, and schools must plan to offer online classes for those who choose not to return for health or safety concerns.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper on July 14 ordered public schools to reopen for classroom instruction in August if they are able to maintain social distancing for students and staff and meet other conditions. Parents also can opt for online learning for their children.
Cooper said school districts can decide to do remote-only learning if they cannot meet conditions such as allowing at least 6 feet (1.83 meters) of distance between all students and staff.
Reporting by Daniel Trotta, additional reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Aurora Ellis and Bill Tarrant
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