What the 15 biggest US school districts are planning for reopening
Of the 15 biggest school districts in the country, only one is offering schools the option of in-person instruction, and 10 of them have opted to begin the school year with online learning only.
Three have opted for a hybrid: New York City, Chicago and Hawaii Public Schools.
Hillsborough County, Florida, the eighth-biggest district in the country, will announce its decision August 3. Its school board previously rejected a plan for virtual learning for the first nine weeks of school.
Here’s how the other large school districts, as of Thursday, are planning to reopen while grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Offering parents a choice
Orange County, Florida, the ninth-largest system, is offering a choice: in-person only or online only instruction. Parents or students must choose one.
In New York City schools, those that are part of the hybrid model “will be taught on-site in school for part of the week, and will attend school remotely on the other days of the week,” according to the education department’s website.
Students will be required to practice social distancing and wear face coverings. There will be “increased access and regular opportunitises” for hand-washing and sanitizing.
Families may also choose all-online instruction.
At Chicago Public Schools, only half the usual student population will be at school at any given time. Students must wear masks, and their temperature will be taken before they enter their school.
The Hawaii Department of Education offered schools three different models each for elementary, middle and high schools, including full-time, in-school instruction for all students or blended rotation, where some students are in school while others learn remotely, and variations of that hybrid. The start of school has been moved from August 4 to August 17.
Some of the districts that have opted for fully digital instruction, including Clark County, Nevada, and Gwinnett County, Georgia, have said they will review their decision periodically while assessing virus spread in their communities.
At least three of these — Palm Beach County in Florida, Houston and Gwinnett County — pushed back the planned start date so that they could better prepare for digital-only instruction.
Here are the 10 districts offering online only:
Los Angeles Unified – The district reversed its initial decision to offer a hybrid model.
Clark County, Nevada
Broward County, Florida
Houston Independent School District – The district is online only until at least October 19.
Palm Beach County, Florida
Fairfax County, Virginia
Gwinnett County, Georgia — Gwinnett reversed its initial decision to offer either/or.
Wake County, North Carolina
Montgomery County, Maryland — Online only for the entire fall semester, until at least January 29, 2021.
This report will be updated as school districts’ plans change.
CNN’s Elizabeth Stuart contributed to this report.
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