NYC Schools Turn Into “Ghost Towns” as Attendance Sharply Drops

Just three weeks into the new school year, low in-person attendance rates have teachers compare schools to literal ghost towns. Photo Credit: AP

By Shahael Myrthil

Enrollment rates spanning across dozens of NYC public schools have significantly staggered as more and more students are logging onto their classes remotely.

And now, just three weeks into the new school year, low in-person attendance rates have teachers compare schools to literal ghost towns. With the DOE’s new approach to distant learning education fully implemented, there’s no real drive to get kids rolling out of beds and rushing over to school in time for their lessons.

In fact, only a handful students regularly arrive to class in-person, although the exact number is unknown. The Department of Education refuses to release any real, concrete data on attendance rates, so everything cited in this article derives merely from school insiders.

Having only one student, and three teachers present in a classroom is not what Mayor De Blasio had in mind when he ordered the reopening of schools in NYC a few weeks ago, over fears of losing major state and federal funding.

According to published reports, one teacher isn’t happy with the mayor’s decision to keep schools open, despite the Coronavirus outbreak. He’s witnessed kids shivering in the classrooms, sitting by themselves with only a teacher to talk while viewing their lessons in front of their small monitor screens.

While most students have been able to adapt appropriately to remote education, another issue emerges with online courses: child poverty, or in other words, a family’s economical factors that imposes on a student’s ability to gain access to the curriculum online because of a lack of technological tools like a computer or cellphone.

Not every student has family members that can afford to dish out money to purchase a laptop or an Ipad to make viewing the broadcasted lessons a little easier on the eye. There was one teen, the teacher recalled, that had neither, and sat in his classroom, viewing the broadcast on his cellphone.

The future of state and federal budgets like Title I money, funds that offer financial assistance to kids whose family lives close to the poverty line, was at jeopardy.

So one strategy the DOE implemented in response to the major budget cut threats and the dwindling low-person rates in schools, was deciding to mark those students who attend classes remotely, and not in-person, present, said DOE executives, according to published reports. Within this past week, the number of students going fully remote have increased by 50%.


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