Amid the chaos, one thing has remained clear: A large share of the city’s public school students are unlikely to see the inside of their classrooms this academic year.
The district has set dates in mid-to-late April to start bringing back elementary students and some high-needs older students, but there is no plan yet for the majority of middle or high school students to return. At the same time, all of the roughly 10,000 teachers and staff members in the district have been offered vaccinations.
In the realm of education, the pandemic has reinforced the notion of a city divided by wealth and race. Around one-third of the city’s schoolchildren, many of them white, go to private schools, one of the highest rates of any major city in the United States. Many of those private-school students have been sitting in classrooms for months while public school students, who are disproportionately Black, Latino and Asian-American, have spent the year in virtual classes.