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New York City’s new school year began online Wednesday — and some fed-up parents are already giving the remote-learning system an ‘F.’
Families faced a slew of problems including trouble logging in, uncommunicative teachers and, now, the fear that their kids might not even get to take their online classes in real time.
“I understand that it’s the first day but it seems like they had a lot of time to figure this out,” said one Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn mom who was unable to connect either of her two elementary-school children to their classes Wednesday morning.
The mom, who declined to be identified by name, said that she spent over an hour just trying to get in touch with the two teachers — and by the afternoon was still unable to resolve the issue.
“I’m going to just hope for the best” going forward, she said. “It seems like last year all over again.
“It’s like PTSD.”
The Department of Education first pivoted to remote learning last spring when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
But despite months to work out the kinks — including the entirety of the summer break — the system remained rough around the edges as the new academic year kicked off Wednesday.
One Brooklyn mom tweeted that her young daughter’s online class was “hijacked” by hackers who flooded the channel with photos of President Trump and hardcore porn, an alleged security breach the DOE said they are probing.
At PS 177 in Gravesend, Brooklyn, the WiFi system has been down since earlier this week, forcing the school’s teachers to conduct class from Bensonhurst’s IS 96 — in the parking lot, for the sake of social-distancing.
The United Federation of Teachers union, which shed light on that situation, also blew the whistle on the unseemly conditions awaiting kids when a partial reopening of in-person classes begins on Monday.
“The NYC DOE and City Hall promised safe and clean schools,” the union said in a video clip they released showing images of dead rodents and overflowing trash cans. “However, staff have returned to unsanitary conditions and broken promises.”
Parents currently have a choice of enrolling their kids in online classes full-time, or opting for a blended schedule that alternates virtual sessions with in-person learning.
Those students signed up for the hybrid option — about 58 percent — will have their first in-person classes on Monday.
But, despite a previous promise that those students would have real-time online classes during their remote-learning days — as opposed to pre-recorded videos in which they can’t interact with their teachers — the DOE announced late Tuesday that they could no longer make that guarantee.
Those issues aside, other parents voiced satisfaction with the re-launch of online learning, lauding teachers and school administrators for pulling together an option to keep their kids home with the pandemic still raging.
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