A Messy Return to School in New York

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Iolani teaches dual-language kindergarten in Washington Heights in New York City, where she has worked for the last 15 years.

She, like many colleagues, is leery about a return to in-person instruction amid reports of positive coronavirus cases in other schools. “I go through waves of anxiety to being hopeful that it works out to just being worried,” she told our producer Lisa Chow.

On top of mixed messaging from the city about the form teaching could take, her anxiety is compounded by concern that she might bring the coronavirus home to her daughter, whose immune system is weaker as a result of an organ transplant.

Today, we look at how one teacher’s concerns in the lead up to the first day back illustrates issues around New York City’s reopening of public schools.

On today’s episode:

Lisa Chow, a producer for The New York Times, speaks to a kindergarten teacher in New York City.

Background reading:

New York City was scheduled to reopen public schools on Monday. Mayor Bill de Blasio this week delayed the start of in-person instruction.

Nearly 40 percent of parents have opted to have their children learn fully remotely through at least the first few months of the school year. That number reflects the deep divide among the city’s families about how to approach in-person learning.

Tune in, and tell us what you think. Email us at [email protected]. Follow Michael Barbaro on Twitter: @mikiebarb. And if you’re interested in advertising with “The Daily,” write to us at [email protected].

“The Daily” is made by Theo Balcomb, Andy Mills, Lisa Tobin, Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Annie Brown, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Larissa Anderson, Wendy Dorr, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, Kelly Prime, Julia Longoria, Sindhu Gnanasambandan, M.J. Davis Lin, Austin Mitchell, Neena Pathak, Dan Powell, Dave Shaw, Sydney Harper, Daniel Guillemette, Hans Buetow, Robert Jimison, Mike Benoist, Bianca Giaever, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi and Rachelle Bonja. Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Mikayla Bouchard, Lauren Jackson, Julia Simon, Mahima Chablani, Nora Keller, Sofia Milan and Desiree Ibekwe.

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