As learning moves forward after COVID, districts are faced with tough decisions around virtual learning options

Cheers and questions as some states and big school districts remove virtual learning option for fall


As learning moves forward after COVID, districts are faced with tough decisions around virtual learning options

Cheers and questions as some states and big school districts remove virtual learning option for fall” was originally published by Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization covering public education. Sign up for their newsletters here: ckbe.at/newsletters

After a school year marked by stops and starts, New York City’s top schools official drew a line in the sand this week: This fall, there will be no virtual learning option.

“We know our schools have been safe and we need our children back,” the city’s schools chancellor, Meisha PorterCheers districts fall for learning noopener option questions remove school some states virtual”>, said in an interview. “Nothing, absolutely nothing, replaces the interaction and the learning that happens between a student and teacher in our classrooms.”

The country’s largest school district is the latest in a string of states and large districts to announce that they won’t offer a virtual schooling option this fall, or will offer only a very limited one.

New Jersey’s governor said there would be no virtual learning option for families in the state barring a local COVID outbreak. Illinois education officials are putting tight restrictions on remote learning, and will only permit it in cases when students can’t yet get vaccinated and are under quarantine. Several large districts in Florida are eliminating the remote learning options they offered this year and are directing students who want to stay virtual to programs that use the state’s online curriculum.

But plenty of places have already said they’re going the other direction — maintaining a virtual option that they are confident will be in demand next year.

The school districts serving Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, and Houston have all said they intend to continue offering a fully virtual option this fall. In late May, the head of Los Angeles’ schools, Austin Beutner, said he knew some students and staff would want a virtual option until they can be vaccinated, or because they live with an immunocompromised family member.

“We expect the vast majority of students, teachers and staff to be at school every day but recognize that we must provide the online opportunity for those who need it,” he said.

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