The Department of Education has canceled all in-person parent-teacher conferences scheduled for the end of this week, saying they will done electronically or by phone amid rising coronavirus concerns.
Normally held in person, the conferences on Thursday and Friday, March 12-13, “will still take place but parents should not attend in person,” the DOE said in a tweet. “Instead, Parent Teacher Conferences will occur by phone or virtually.”
If parents are unable to arrange for the remote meetings, the DOE said they will furnish future opportunities to consult with teachers.
Teachers union chief Michael Mulgrew lauded the move amid spiraling COVID-19 fears.
“The DOE made the right decision,” he said in a statement. “Given the level of concern over the coronavirus, parent-teacher conferences in the upcoming weeks should be conducted by phone or internet.”
The DOE has repeatedly stated that closures are not imminent but has reached out to principals to gauge their readiness to conduct classes remotely.
Meanwhile, nearly 110,000 people have signed a petition demanding the closure of city schools.
Launched last week, the petition implores Gov. Cuomo to shutter the system while the city devises a plan to contain the lethal contagion.”Our kids and the staff members are taking the subway to school every day, contacting a lot people on the subway and in school,” the petition argues. “I think they are in an extremely dangerous situation.”
In lieu of regular classes, the Department of Education should turn to remote learning, the suddenly popular campaign states.
“We think surviving is the main priority now,” it reads. “With today’s technology, we will still be able to progress academically as well as keep everyone safe.”
Comments on the petition argued that kids should not have to take subways and buses during the scare and that health should be the DOE’s priority.
Judging from the tone of the comments, student concern is beginning to soar.
“I’m signing because I don’t want to die because of school,” wrote one signee. “I’d rather learn online then go to school and get the coronavirus.”