Only 280K of NYC’s estimated 1M students have attended in-person classes: officials

Michael Elsen-Rooney, New York Daily News

Just over a quarter of the city’s estimated one million schoolchildren have showed up so far to an in-person class, officials announced Monday.

The figure — the first comprehensive attendance number the city has given since school began more than a month ago — is a far cry from the “up to 500,000” students Mayor de Blasio said could be showing up to school buildings when classes fully reopened on Oct. 1.

The unprecedented school semester “needs to be understood as a work in progress," Hizzoner said Monday. “That 280,000, of course, that’s a huge number unto itself, and many, many more kids attending in-person than in many parts of the country. But a lot more kids could be attending in person,” he added.

The revelation comes after educators and advocates clamored for weeks for better attendance data to confirm how often students were showing up to class both in-person and online.

Some educators said the numbers of kids showing up to classes was far lower than the number they expected, pointing to dissatisfaction with the classes they were going to receive in-person, or the possibility that some never meant to enroll in in-person classes in the first place.

More than 100 schools were also shuttered for two weeks in areas with spiking COVID-19 rates.

Officials said the average daily in-person attendance rate was 83%. But that number doesn’t seem to square with other figures the city has offered. Officials projected roughly 460,000 students enrolled in in-person classes at last count, and if only 280,000 have shown up, that would mean a maximum attendance rate of 61% — suggesting that either schools are tracking in-person enrollment differently than the Education Department, or the enrollment numbers are way off.

Officials also said attendance for remote learning — marked by participating in live video instruction or working on an assignment online — was 86%.

Officials also pointed out that the numbers have steadily risen since the first week of school. In-person attendance was lowest for high schools, where many students who are reporting to school buildings are still learning remotely from their classrooms because of staffing shortages.

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