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What the 15 biggest US school districts are planning for reopening

Of the 15 biggest school districts in the country, 13 have opted to begin the school year with online learning only.

Just one, Hawaii Public Schools, has opted for a hybrid. New York City schools have not yet received approval for their plans.

Here’s how large school districts are planning to reopen while grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hybrid model

New York City school officials have sent plans to the state for each of the city’s 1,800 schools, and those still need approval, Mayor Bill de Blasio said August 4 on CNN.

The mayor said he would not reopen schools if the city goes above a 3% Covid-19 infection rate. “We’re going to have blended learning, kids in class sometimes, out of school other times. Anyone who wants to be at home can be at home,” de Blasio said. “That’s an option. But we’re going to be cleaning all the time.”

“We’re going to have social distancing in every classroom. We’re going to have face coverings on every adult and child. We are doing everything you’ve ever heard of to keep our schools safe. And, again, all of our health professionals are working on that together,” de Blasio said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will make an initial decision this week on the schools’ reopening plans.

The Hawaii Department of Education offered schools three different models each for elementary, middle and high schools, including full-time, in-school instruction for all students or blended rotation, where some students are in school while others learn remotely, and variations of that hybrid. The start of school has been moved from August 4 to August 17.

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Online only

Some of the districts that have opted for fully digital instruction, including Clark County, Nevada, and Gwinnett County, Georgia, have said they will review their decision periodically while assessing virus spread in their communities.

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At least three of these — Palm Beach County in Florida, Houston and Gwinnett County — pushed back the planned start date so that they could better prepare for digital-only instruction.

Here are the 13 districts starting the school year online only:

Los Angeles Unified — The district plans an online-only start to the school year.

Chicago Public Schools –The district backed away from its initial hybrid plan on August 5. Its schools will offer remote learning through at least the first quarter, which ends November 9.


Clark County, Nevada

Broward County, Florida

Houston Independent School District — The district is online only until at least October 19.

Hillsborough County, Florida — The school board voted August 6 to start the year on August 24 with all-digital learning. It will reconvene September 8 to discuss possible next steps.

Orange County, Florida — Schools will begin online from August 10-August 20. Starting August 21, students who have selected in-person instruction will begin going to school.

Palm Beach County, Florida

Fairfax County, Virginia

Gwinnett County, Georgia — The district will be online only until at least August 26.

Wake County, North Carolina

Montgomery County, Maryland — The district will be online only for the entire fall semester, until at least January 29, 2021.

This report is being updated as school districts’ plans change.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the Los Angeles Unified School District plans to open with online schooling only.

Article Topic Follows: US & World

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