NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — With the new normal for schools set to begin soon, New York’s seventh largest city is dealing with a broadband bust.
Just days before school was set to begin with teachers in the classroom and students at home, New Rochelle told parents it lacks the bandwidth to make that happen, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Thursday.
The district said it spent the summer improving broadband coverage in buildings so teachers could lead “significantly enhanced virtual learning” from the classroom.
That plan blew up on Wednesday, when the district announced its broadband provider cannot supply the necessary bandwidth. As a result, teachers will work from home.
“One would have assumed the district would have crossed every T and dotted every I,” parent Brandee Dallow said, adding when asked for her reaction, “Disappointment, concern, a little bit of fear, little bit of sadness. We were really getting ready to go back to school. Last thing we expected was another bump in the road.”
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Most experts agree having teachers lead remote learning from a classroom is far better than from home.
“Because when a teacher encounters an issue, then the principal, or the assistant principal, or a colleague will be available to assist,” Yonkers School Superintendent Dr. Edwin Quezada said.
Yonkers gets its broadband directly from a vendor, Altice, but New Rochelle goes through the Southern Westchester BOCES — the Boards of Cooperative Educational Services.
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BOCES told Aiello since so many districts are upgrading for remote learning, demand for broadband is up 250%, and supply chain breakdowns have delayed its ability to give New Rochelle the bandwidth it needs.
So students will start the year at home and the teachers will, too.
“I care about both the kids and the teachers, and I want it to be great for all of them, but expected that we’d be ready to go come fall,” Dallow said.
As parents picked up Chromebooks on Thursday, they learned the broadband issue will delay the re-entry for in-person instruction.
The youngest students won’t return until at least Oct. 19. High schoolers will learn from home at least through Nov. 9.
Neighboring Eastchester is also concerned about broadband.
“The Eastchester Union Free School District is aware of the broadband infrastructure concerns raised by LHRIC and the possibility of a disruption in service. As a result, we have asked all of our internal users to conserve bandwidth in order for remote classes to run effectively. Our students will return to school in person and remotely on Thursday, Sept. 10. We will monitor the situation on a day-by-day basis and make adjustments as needed,” Eastchester Superintendent Dr. Robert Glass said.
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