Free World - September 14, 2021

Seventh-grader Sara Palau of New York City hadn’t taken classes in a school buil…


Seventh-grader Sara Palau of New York City hadn’t taken classes in a school building in a year and half because her parents were among the many who feared the spread of Covid-19. On Monday, the 12-year-old was dressed for the first day of classes by 6 a.m., and said she was nervous.⁠⁠
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Monday marked the first day of school in the nation’s largest school district, where hundreds of thousands of students hadn’t taken in-person classes since March 2020. Many students’ families opted not to return to classrooms during the past school year, but they are now being required to return because New York City’s public schools won’t offer remote learning this fall. At the end of the past school year, about 577,000 of the city’s 955,000 students were taking all of their classes remotely, according to the city’s Department of Education.⁠⁠
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Sara was new to her school, having only met her classmates last year on Zoom. And then there were the throngs of people she would have to come into contact with on the hour-plus train and bus commute from her home in the Bronx to her school in lower Manhattan.⁠⁠
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Leading up to the fall semester of the last academic year, Sara said she was looking forward to studying Mandarin at her public dual-language elementary and middle school. Once in-person classes resumed in September 2020, Sara’s mother, Veronica Flores, chose to keep her daughter enrolled in remote instruction from home, citing safety concerns and feeling that the sporadic opening and closing of schools due to infection rates could disrupt the flow of her daughter’s daily routine.⁠⁠
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“Being in-person will be more of a culture shock than just being on the computer all day,” Flores said.⁠⁠
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Read more at the link in our bio.⁠⁠
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📷 : @ddrios for @wsjphotos



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