School Closures in NYC: How New York City Students Can Learn Online

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

Are you learning from home and online in New York City? This article offers many tips for how to learn online in New York City during the COVID-19 school closure pandemic.

Students Impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in NYC

New York City hosts millions of students. If you live in New York City, you may be struggling with how to transition to learning at home. Please know that you are not alone. According to the New York City Department of Education website, there are 1,866 schools including 260 charter schools in the state of New York.

You are in the company of 1,126,501 students all learning to learn in a new way.

Learning From Home

While it may be a new experience, you can have a successful transition to learning at home. Here are a few tips to make this a smooth transition for you (parents and students).

1. Take Some Deep Breaths

It isn't necessary to jump straight into a formal homeschooling curriculum immediately upon school closures. It's okay to take a few days to just enjoy being together, to explore ideas the student enjoys and to have some down time as every deals with the stress associated with a major change due to crisis.

Other things to remember as you are gathering your thoughts on the topic of home learning are:

  • Focused learning is often faster than classroom learning, so don't expect a student to spend the same amount of time on each subject as they would in the classroom.
  • Routine is important, but allowing for mental and emotional needs is also important in these circumstances.

2. Curriculum

What should you teach? What should students learn at home? The answers to these questions depend greatly on your student's school.

If your child's school sent home work, then you know what they should be accomplishing. If the school has set up online virtual learning classrooms, then the expectations of the students should be fairly clear.

However, if your child's school did not send home any work or set up virtual learning options, you may have more questions about how to proceed. In this case, you may want to turn to some online resources to help provide some subject content to assist your student in progressing in their education during the school closures. offers thousands of short animated lessons for students of all ages. These lessons offer:

  • Written transcripts for offline learning
  • Interactive and printable worksheets to assess student understanding
  • Review lessons
  • Cumulative assessments

Some lessons on also offer hands-on projects and activities for students to complete at home.

Make sure you keep in close contact with your student's school to stay abreast of all changes and academic expectations put out by the school.

Do not expect your student to sit and study non-stop for 6 hours. They do not do this at school and should not be expected to do this at home. Frequent breaks and time for movement are required for the most efficient learning sessions.

3. Routine

It is important to maintain a healthy routine for yourself and students in the home. To do this, it is recommended that you:

  • Get up at the same time you normally would.
  • Continue your normal morning routine (breakfast, etc.).
  • Work through subjects in the same order that you would at school to maintain consistency.
  • Stop for breaks on the same schedule (after the same courses) as you would at school.
  • Eat a similar lunch to the one you would normally eat at school.
  • Get plenty of rest.

By keeping your school schedule as routine as possible, you will keep your mind in the same learning state. This will assist your smooth transition to home-based learning and back to school again later.

4. Learning Space

When setting up your online learning space, you will want to consider a few key characteristics. The space should be:

  • Comfortable while supportive enough for focused work. This is not a time for the couch, but a comfortable chair at a table.
  • Well-lit without glare on your computer screen. Glares can cause headaches, so beware.
  • Free from extreme distraction. While some music in the background is okay, try not have your phone dinging constantly while you attempt to focus on your work.

5. Lifestyle

Being stuck at home isn't fun. Make sure that you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle while you and your family are learning from home. This includes:

  • Eating healthy foods including fresh vegetables and fruits.
  • Exercising on a regular basis. Some ideas for isolated exercise are:
    • Online yoga classes
    • Indoor scavenger hunt
    • Dance contest
  • Take mental breaks by going on virtual tours of museums or other worldwide tourist attractions.

A successful transition to home-based learning during the COVID-19 school closure crisis is possible if you just follow a few simple steps. First, take a few breaths and face the challenge calmly. Determining your curriculum needs is important. Take the lead from your student's school. online lessons can assist when you want to supplement your child's curriculum. Keeping a good routine and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will also go far helping this time be stress-free, smooth and as successful as possible.

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