Only 117,000 of the 335,000 city kids enrolled in the city’s suspended blended learning program have provided COVID-19 testing consent forms, the Post has learned.
Despite lobbying from City Hall and the Department of Education, the submissions — which are required for the DOE to test kids — continue to lag.
The lack of consent forms could complicate the reopening of city schools.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has repeatedly stressed in recent days that resuming classroom activity will require a sharp increase in student coronavirus testing.
Some parents have expressed reservations over having their children screened for the virus on school grounds without them present.
The DOE has thus far declined to let families submit results from private doctors.
“Testing keeps our communities safe, transmission low, and makes in-person learning possible—we need everyone in our school communities to participate,” DOE spokesperson Nathaniel Styer told the Post.
The number of student enrolled in blended learning, which alternates between classroom and remote instruction, increased by 35,000 this month, the DOE said Friday.
The agency gave families a two-week window this month to switch from fully remote instruction to a hybrid format that alternates between home and classroom learning.
That brings the total number of students currently enrolled in any future blended learning program to 335,000, according to the DOE.
Prior to the start of the school year, City Hall touted that more than 700,000 families chose building instruction despite looming coronavirus concerns.
Critics noted at the time that the DOE automatically enrolled kids into that model if they failed to actively opt out and that the number was likely inflated.
Amid unrelenting upheaval during the first few months of the academic year, that once impressive number has since cratered.
At the start of the new opt in period in November, only 300,000 kids remained in blended learning.
In encouraging families to place their kids in the hybrid format, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the DOE stressed the safety of city classrooms and highlighted minimal cases of school building COVID-19 transmission in doing so.
But de Blasio chose to suspend all in-person learning Wednesday after the city hit an infection rate closure trigger of 3 percent.
“We know that nothing can replace in-person instruction and blended learning families deserve as much time in the classroom inside their schools as possible,” said DOE spokesperson Katie O’Hanlon in a statement. “We will be working with schools to increase the number of days blended learning students are in buildings, and we’re excited for these students to join their peers when we reopen.”