Over the last year, politicians on both sides of the aisle have debated about whether or not America’s youth should be returning to the classroom. Students were pulled out of school and forced to partake in “virtual learning” because of the COVID pandemic. Now that America seems on track to tackle the pandemic, schools across the nation are reopening. But, in the nation’s pandemic epicenter, New York City, a large majority of students are opting to continue remote learning.
According to The Wall Street Journal, 51,000 students returned to school on Monday for the first time since the U.S. went on lockdown. But 61% of the city’s students – 582,000 students – will continue learning virtually. NYC has the largest school system in America, with almost one million students.
“Many students took a pass on returning to classrooms during the final opt-in period of the school year. Some are worried about their health and safety and commuting, some have to take care of siblings, some are working at jobs, and some have just gotten into a routine learning remotely, teachers and parents say,” the WSJ reported.
At least one teacher, Peter O’Donnell, believes students and families will continue to choose remote learning as long as it’s offered. The only way to get back to a pre-COVID “normal” is to remove that option, O’Donnell said.
Part of that, O’Donnell explained, is because students have become accustomed to online schooling and the freedom it gives them.