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NYC Sees Drop in Virtual Parent-Teacher Conference Participation

New York City schools have been conducting parent-teacher conferences remotely since the COVID-19 pandemic, but they're finding participation is now far lower than it was before the pandemic.

Parent teacher student meeting, communicating
(TNS) — New York City is seeing a drop in participation among parents meeting with their child's public school teacher, according to a recent report.

Chalkbeat reports that less families took part in parent-teacher conferences last school year when compared to pre-pandemic numbers — down 40 percent, according to city data.

When the pandemic began, parent-teacher conferences were forced to go remote. A few years later, these conferences remain remote, making it easier for many parents to meet with their child's educators about their progress in school without having to travel or find childcare for those meetings. However, moving to remote parent-teacher conferences also creates a burden for those with less access to technology or language barriers, Chalkbeat notes.

While the city Schools Chancellor David C. Banks has said parent engagement is a top priority, participation in these parent-teacher conferences is far less than the most recent school year before the pandemic hit.

City Department of Education (DOE) officials defended the virtual meetings after an inquiry by Chalkbeat, saying that it has expanded opportunities for families to meet with teachers. The DOE also said that these conferences can occur in person upon request, at a mutually agreed-upon time.

Many parents, according to Chalkbeat, were unaware that this was an option.

Parent-teacher conferences are held multiple times throughout the school year.

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